The racquet life

The+racquet+life

Story by Annie Tarwater, Staff Writer

Tennis is my life.

I’ve had a racquet in my hand since the age of three. My mom even coaches the high school tennis team. My weekends consist of traveling to USTA tournaments. And while other people shop at the mall, Tennis Warehouse is my go-to.

As a freshman, I had already made varsity and was the No. 1 girl on the line up.

So, tennis is my life.

Even before high school, I knew what I wanted in tennis. I wanted to go to State.  All year, I worked to make it to State.

And I almost made it.

Almost.

After winning district in a tough third set against our superior teammates, our confidence soared. My partner and I knew we could make it to state. It would be a tough goal to reach since only the top two teams from regionals advance, but we desperately wanted it.

However, only seven weeks before regionals, I came across my first obstacle–a broken foot that required six weeks of recovery, which left me with only a week of intense practice before state. Despite doctor’s warnings, I played in my boot as much as possible to get ready for when I came back.

When it came time for regionals, I went to bed overjoyed–partly because it was my first time to be there, but mostly because we had just beaten Frisco Wakeland, a solid team in the semifinals.

We were in the finals.

I repeated it, over and over, in my head. I was on top of the world, nothing could stop us. Then tomorrow came.

Pressure.

I never worried about pressure. I’ve played in tournaments since I was 7. But this was different.

Everyone was watching.

Everyone was cheering.

The pressure was on.

We were playing the Highland Park Scots. They were rude, snobby, and worst of all, they were good, really good. It was a long tough match and we almost had them. We were so close, but we let it slip away.

Second place. Not bad, right? Well, it’s not quite good enough. About 10 years ago, Texas decided to make the “play-back rule.” If the third place team and the second place team didn’t play each other, then they have to have a play-back to see which team will qualify for second place and advance to state.

Lucky us. It was our own teammates.

I tried to boost my confidence. It was no big deal; we already beat them.

When really, I was dreading the play-back.
I was terrified. It wasn’t a walk in the park for us at district. It was a long, drug out third set and both players were great.

I  walked nervously out onto the court, we spun the racket to decide who serves first, and started the match.

Immediately getting down in the match, not just by a few points, but a few games.

It’s just nerves.
Shake it off.
We can’t lose this.

In a flash, we already lost the first set. I was playing terribly.

It’s okay. We will just win the next two sets.

I was still trying to keep maintain my self-esteem, to stay calm and win the match.

We battled through the second set and barely got it. To win, we would have to get the third too. To go to state, we would have to win. The match was one of the most nerve-racking experiences I’d ever been in.

Down quickly in the third, I tried to convince myself we would come back and win, just like we did at district.

Not today.

Alex and Kyle were unstoppable. They deserved it.

We lost the final set 6-2.

I rushed off the court, knowing there would be a waterworks show.

State was all I wanted. And suddenly it was gone. So fast. I almost didn’t believe it actually happened.

For days, I felt depressed and didn’t want to leave the house. Then I saw the big picture. There was nothing I could do now. The past is behind me, and all I can do is work harder for the upcoming years and move forward from this experience because tennis is my life.