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The Caldron

Senior Tennis Reflections

Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Li.

 

Looking back on my four years of tennis, it is easy for me to see how everything fell into place—how every lesson, practice, and season shaped me into the player I am today. But at the moment, my tennis career also had moments of uncertainty. It is from these moments that tennis had the most lasting impact on me: the knowledge of how to challenge myself.

 

I started my tennis career on JV. A shaky freshman, I was unconfident in my skills and inexperienced in match play. Tennis was daunting to me. But there was

Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Li.

something about the sport and the community that I could just not give up on. My bond with my doubles partner, Sophie Hacker, solidified my desire to continue playing and, if possible, play at a higher level.

 

My change in mindset was perhaps one of the first-ever clear resolutions I have made and carried out by myself. It was a moment of clarity and motivation that showed me that, even if I wasn’t yet the most skilled player, I could work on myself on my terms. 

 

And throughout that winter and spring, I did exactly that. I can remember wet, cold Thursday nights at Crestmont and sunny spring Tuesdays at the old Westville Pool courts. Playing up to seven days a week, I began to not just get better, but love the sport. I see now how the better I became, the more fun I had. Tennis truly gave me back what I put into it.

Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Li.

In my sophomore season, I made varsity. I played doubles with Marisa Brown. What I remember most were not my matches, but the team’s vibrant personalities. We had a wonderful group of seniors and juniors who brought so much fun to the sport. My love for tennis only grew.

 

Going into my junior season, I once again spent my winter and spring on the court. Coming into the season, I did not even consider the possibility of playing singles. To me, I was forever the freshman on JV, always a little intimidated to be on the court, not to mention play alone. Yet, in a strange twist of fate, I found myself playing third singles. 

 

Singles were nothing like doubles. I found it to be a truly different sport. Singles frankly challenged my love for tennis. The high intensity and loneliness of being the only one on the court were both intimidating and tiring. Adding to the difficulty, my calf began to give me recurring issues. But, even though I only played several matches (due to my calf), I came out of my junior season with an admiration and enjoyment for singles.

 

My senior season has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my high school career. Serving as a co-captain, I had the opportunity to be a mentor and leader for our team. Though we faced immense adversity, from Coach Kloss’s death at the beginning of the season to a 10-match streak of cancellations due to heat, I am confident that everyone on our team came out with fond memories from this season. And I found closure playing second singles, coming to terms with both my progress and my still-needed room for improvement as a tennis player.

 

Playing tennis has been one of my favorite memories of high school. It truly changed my perspective about what it means to be a team player, community member, and leader. I could not have been more thankful for the amazing community of coaches and players JCHS has!



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Alexandra Li, Opinions and Satire Editor
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