Thankful for the Sport Called Tennis

January 4, 2018

Even though it’s only been a couple months since my last match, not a day goes by where I don’t miss you, tennis. I miss wearing that black and white uniform. I miss the feeling of those butterflies before every match. I miss the ups and downs of every point. I miss the feeling of being on that court, where it was just me and my opponent. You have taught me a lot within the passed four years. Not only did you help me master the skill of tennis, but you helped me learn more about myself. Your sport provided me with wonderful coaches and teammates. Just like any other team, there were fights, laughters, and tears. I am thankful for them because they have pushed me and challenged me to be the best player I could have ever been. Even though my high school career is coming to an end, my high school teammates will always hold a special place in my heart. Still to this day, I am thankful for that one senior who had picked me to become Pilgrim's next tennis captain four years ago. “P-i-l-g-r-i-m (x2) pilgrim *clap clap clap* patriots!!”

 

I started playing tennis my freshman year of high school. I knew the basics, but by no means was I any good. The summer following my freshman year of high school, I was about to turn 15 and my mom asked if I wanted money for my birthday or if I wanted the chance to go to a tennis camp. Without any hesitation I chose the tennis camp. It wasn't just any ole tennis camp either. It was Dedham Health & Athletic Complex. Some of the best tennis players have come from this camp, so I would have been a fool to turn this opportunity down. That summer is when my entire life began to change.

 

I’ve always been blessed to be a very active person throughout my life and tennis has been a huge part of that. Training yourself to become a good tennis player includes by default physical conditioning and training, trying to wring as much out of your body as possible so that on the court you can perform to your best. Whether it was push ups after losing to my pro during private lessons, “one ball pick ups” in high school practices. I’ve always pushed my body as hard as possible, practice after practice and match after match. The benefits of this hard work extend beyond the tennis court. I’m lucky enough to be in very good condition and plan on continuing that for the rest of my life thanks to my enjoyment of tennis. Tennis truly is the “sport of a lifetime”, continue playing tennis and it will reward you physically for years to come.

It’s difficult to put a price on the overall mental toughness and competitive confidence that playing the sport of tennis for years can give you. Good tennis players are able to perform under pressure so well because they’re all alone out there on the court (unless you’re playing doubles of course). You don’t get teammates to pick you up physically or mentally, nor a coach to give you a kick in the butt when you need it or open your eyes to a strategy that you overlooked. Tennis players learn how to problem solve, troubleshoot, and never back down under the pressure of an attacking opponent. These mental skills are learned over time of course, so if the descriptions above don’t sound like you then don’t despair! Get out there and continue to compete as often as possible. Your learned competitive skills will transfer over to so many different parts of life, both in different sports and otherwise.

 

There’s something about the friendships formed around an athletic endeavor, among hard physical work and the thrill of competition in the air. Without a doubt most of my long term friendships over the years have been tennis teammates, guys who I’ve fought alongside with towards a common goal: win for the team. Such a strong bond is formed within these conditions, and I’ve been very fortunate over the years to know many people in this way.

Thank you for teaching me that love sucks. It was never a good feeling when I had to say, “Love, [insert opponent’s score].” I still find it funny that it’s called love, because honestly, I hate saying it.

Thank you for teaching me perseverance. I learned how to dig deep and finish every match, no matter what the outcome was. You showed me how to fight until the very last point, especially when the scoreboard wasn’t in my favor.

 

Thank you for teaching me that mental stamina is just as, and often more, important than physical stamina. Sure, I would be panting after my opponent ran me all over the court, but my (lack of) fitness was rescued by my mental game. You showed me how important it is to keep my head in the game and to keep my opponent out of my head.

 

Thank you for teaching me that my attitude can affect the outcome. It’s easy to get down when you’re down a set and a couple games. It’s easy to give up easy points and want to quit in the middle of the match. You showed me that every point is a new point. Every point is a clear slate.

 

Thank you for teaching me not to dwell on my mistakes. When it’s just you and your opponent on the court your mistakes are obvious. You can’t hide behind any of your teammates, no matter how much you want to. It wasn’t easy to learn, but I finally figured out that wasting time thinking about past mistakes only hurts the match.

 

Thank you for teaching me how to play alone on a team. I know it might seem like an oxymoron, but your team isn’t out there with you on the court, it’s just you. You’re responsible for your own successes and failures, but in the end, your match helps determine the team’s outcome.

Thank you for teaching me that the scoreboard doesn’t always reflect your performance. I was on the losing side of a lot of matches. While it wasn’t a great feeling, I realized that the score didn’t always represent the way I played. Sometimes I would play better than I had ever played, but I would still lose. As cliché as it is, you taught me that winning isn’t everything.


Thank you for teaching me patience. I had to be patient during every point, every game, every set, every match. It’s true, patience is a virtue.

Thank you for teaching me how to not take myself so seriously. At the end of day, it’s just a game.

Thank you for teaching me that love sucks. It was never a good feeling when I had to say, “Love, [insert opponent’s score].” I still find it funny that it’s called love, because honestly, I hate saying it.
Thank you for teaching me perseverance. I learned how to dig deep and finish every match, no matter what the outcome was. You showed me how to fight until the very last point, especially when the scoreboard wasn’t in my favor.


Thank you for teaching me that mental stamina is just as, and often more, important than physical stamina. Sure, I would be panting after my opponent ran me all over the court, but my (lack of) fitness was rescued by my mental game. You showed me how important it is to keep my head in the game and to keep my opponent out of my head.


Thank you for teaching me that my attitude can affect the outcome. It’s easy to get down when you’re down a set and a couple games. It’s easy to give up easy points and want to quit in the middle of the match. You showed me that every point is a new point. Every point is a clear slate.


Thank you for teaching me not to dwell on my mistakes. When it’s just you and your opponent on the court your mistakes are obvious. You can’t hide behind any of your teammates, no matter how much you want to. It wasn’t easy to learn, but I finally figured out that wasting time thinking about past mistakes only hurts the match.
Thank you for teaching me how to play alone on a team. I know it might seem like an oxymoron, but your team isn’t out there with you on the court, it’s just you. You’re responsible for your own successes and failures, but in the end, your match helps determine the team’s outcome.


Thank you for teaching me that the scoreboard doesn’t always reflect your performance. I was on the losing side of a lot of matches. While it wasn’t a great feeling, I realized that the score didn’t always represent the way I played. Sometimes I would play better than I had ever played, but I would still lose. As cliché as it is, you taught me that winning isn’t everything.


Thank you for teaching me patience. I had to be patient during every point, every game, every set, every match. It’s true, patience is a virtue.


Thank you for teaching me how to not take myself so seriously. At the end of day, it’s just a game.


Tennis changed my life forever. If I wouldn't have made the decisions I did then I wouldn't be where I am today. I gained lifelong friends and lessons. I don't regret any of it and I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t walk on the court. This is why I am thankful for the sport called Tennis.






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