Monday, March 31, 2014

My Favorite Tennis Match

by Sam B., Panther Blogger

My favorite tennis match was against Covenant, a school in northern Georgia.  We, the Ferrum Men's Tennis Team, had stayed the night in a hotel about 10 minutes away from Covenant the night before and our match was scheduled on a Sunday at 12:00 PM.  We arrived at the courts at 10:30 AM to begin warming up on the warm but overcast day.  The other team arrived and we got into the "game time mentality."  I play sixth seed, so I'm the last person to start my match.  I walked around cheering on teammates, waiting for my chance to play.  Everyone was playing really hard, and for the most part, really well.

When I started my match, I had no idea of the overall match score when I finally did get to start my match. The kid that I played and I were fairly evenly matched, so we battled in the first set, and I was able to pull it out 7 games to his 5.  After the first game of the second set, everyone who attended the match as well as both teams crowded around my match as we were the last match playing.  At that moment, I realized my match must mean something because some people will watch me play, but I never attract literally everyone at that the match!

There are 9 matches that factor into deciding which school actually wins the overall match. Six players' singles matches and three doubles matches are what determines who wins. At this point in the day, the match score was 4-4 and whoever won my match would determine the overall outcome. This was all running through my head as I watched everyone crowd around, and I tried to take some deep breaths to hold my composure.  I lost the second game of the second set, and I was quickly down 0-2.  Whether I was winning or not, there were cheers of adulation or comforting words from the Ferrum fans and men's and women's teams after each point. 

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I managed to string some points and then games together; I won the next 5 games to go up to 5-2.  All was looking well for Ferrum until I dropped the next game. The score was now 5-3.  It was my serve and I decided to play aggressively since I had the lead.  After 3 serves, I had the lead 40-0, and I had 3 match points to clinch the win for Ferrum.  Of course, I double-faulted away the first match point and the score was 40-15.  I served, returned his shot and charged the net.  My return forced him to hit a weak shot and I was able to put a volley away for the win!  I will never forget that moment!

A couple of the guys ran on the court and hugged and high-fived me. Everyone's effort that day gave us the 5-4 win over Covenant and our only win of the season thus far.  For the rest of the evening and the ride back to Ferrum, the guys would just not let it go.  They kept telling me that I was "clutch" or that I had ice in my veins and other ridiculous things like that.  I also pointed out that if other guys hadn't won, my match wouldn't have mattered.  On the bus ride home, I put on my headphones, turned up Casting Crowns, and I thanked god for that incredible experience. He put me in that situation and He carried me through because I certainly couldn't have done it without Him.  That was, at this point in my young life, one of my proudest moments.  Once again, the glory of all my successes goes to God because it was His strength that carried me through. 

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