Serving the stage

Freshman Alec Rommel balances theater and varsity tennis


Photo by Ayla Sozen

Story by Grace Hickey, staff writer

Volley, forehand, backhand. Breathe.

Smile, project, speak clearly. Breathe.

Step up the serving line, breathe.

Take the final bow, breathe.

The majority of students would cower at the prospect of adding one major extra-curricular activity to their already packed academic schedules, let alone two. However, that did not stop freshman Alec Rommel from pursuing his passions by taking on both tennis and theater.

“I knew that Texas High had a phenomenal tennis team from my brother’s experience and my  family’s involvement in the program in the past,” Rommel said. “Theater just seemed like something I’d really enjoy and that I really wanted to do. I knew that [joining the company] was going to be a lot of fun because I’ve always acted, and participating in the theater program seemed like the ideal way to keep going with it.”

While Rommel expected to be able to experience the best of both, the hectic nature of both activities proved otherwise.

“[Being in both tennis and theater] makes my life very busy, definitely,” Rommel said. “Sometimes I have to prioritize one over the other. I don’t really get the benefit of enjoying both as much as I would like to.”

Not only has it been difficult balancing tennis and theater between each other, but being so involved has also put pressure on Rommel’s academic life.

“For tennis, I’ve been gone a lot and had to miss some classes, so that has definitely put a strain on some of my school work, but I’ve managed to keep my grades up,” Rommel said. “For theater, it just means late nights–it’s just something you have to learn to deal with.”

Despite the fact that the lifestyle Rommel has chosen is a taxing one, it has proved to be a valuable learning experience as well.

“[Participating in these extracurriculars] definitely made me find a lot more people to hang around and become friends with,” Rommel said. “It’s helped me understand who I am as a person and what I want to be when I’m older as well. As a freshman, being so involved has helped start to realize how busy high school is, and, in a sense, find ways to survive it.”

By expanding his extracurricular horizons, Rommel has gained a new perspective on things other students might take for granted.

“Tennis has enabled me to gain respect for some people and lose it for others,” Rommel said. “It personally gives me insight to how people really are based off their reactions on and off the court. You learn a lot about yourself as well in tennis. In theater, you really get know people and are able to make bonds with people that you want to hang on to. You make memories that you aren’t going to forget.”

Rommel shows no remorse at allotting for such a hectic schedule. Instead, he recommends the experience to anyone eager to pursue their passions.

“I don’t regret choosing both tennis and theater for a minute,” Rommel said. “I think everyone should try new things, and if you do, don’t procrastinate. Get your work done and enjoy it. If you’re going to do it, do it to the best of your ability and don’t take any of it for granted.”