COVID Put my Tennis Journey On Hold
Once I got over the mental block, I realized tennis made me happy. It was my place to escape, It was just me against someone else, and that was it.
I grew up in the Dallas Fort Worth Area and picked up tennis in 7th grade after "Turning Point." Turning Point was an event where people with disabilities (such as Autism or the loss of a limb) had opportunities to go jet ski, zip line, and more other sports you would not think someone with a Disability could do. That day I worked at the tennis station and just fell in love with the sport. I had the realization that if someone with a disability could play tennis, so could I. So I began as an 8th grader officially and have played for 7-8 years.
I played one full year of college tennis, due to covid I have not played much tennis, and my UTR has dropped from my first year to a 4, though if you ask anyone when they watch me play they would say that it is higher and I should not be where I am (about a 7). I am currently a senior in CollegeCollege and was suppose to play number 1 singles, but my school placed the program on hold for 2 years. Those who watched me play said I had talent, and I was better than what I thought as a player. After two months of playing, I placed 4th in singles in my first ever tournament as an 8th grader and realized I was talented and continued to play. Then my freshman year of high school, I was told that I would never have a chance to play in College by my High School head coach, and I wanted to prove to myself that he was wrong about me.
In my Junior year of High School, I started feeling a lot of pain in my right elbow. I just ignored it for a while until it got to the point where I could barely hold on to a pencil in class. That's when I realized I had Tennis Elbow, and it still affects me to this day, 4 years later. I also was just bad mentally. I would yell out things like "Why am I playing so bad" or "I should be beating this guy 6-2". After losing a player in a super tiebreak, my coach helped get me back on track mentally. After talking to my coach about the match, the loss changed who I was as a player and helped me get over some mental issues. He said, "9 times out of 10, you beat that guy in straight sets. Today was his day. If you play someone like that again this season or in College, here is what I want you to do: Turn around and just play with your strings and forget about the point that just happened. Treat Every point as 0-0".
After my freshman year, my college tennis coach left my school to go to another school. I was asked if I would consider leaving with him. I said I was not sure, and I had already made so many connections at my school and had terrific friends during that time. So I did not transfer schools and stayed at the school I was at. The school put a GA in charge of the program (who did not have a great tennis background), and I was starting to question why I stayed at the school. Then Covid happened, and my dad had a heart attack just days before the world was shut down. I was starting to lose hope not just as a tennis player but as a person. Due to what was happening at my school, I decided I would no longer play tennis and stopped playing for months. My junior year was rough; I was starting to become and feel like a different person without tennis in my life. Even though my friends said they were glad I was not just talking about tennis, it was rough for me not to have tennis in my life for the first time in a long time. I was growing apart from my friends, and growing apart from myself and could not recognize who I was when I looked in the mirror in the mornings. However,I did start to help coach at school, but it was not helping me mentally as much as I would have liked. Then I began to play again and was finding the love of tennis again. I was coming back, but then that's when I was told that the president decided to put the tennis program on pause. I still play tennis with people on campus and then this year (2021) make the finals of a tennis tournament after playing my first matches in over 2 years. Tennis is one of the few things that I actually love (My family, of course, and my dog), but I was beginning to hate it because of my situation in College.
Once I got over the Mental block, I realized tennis made me happy. It was my place to escape, It was just me against someone else, and that was it. I had no external stress of school, my personal life, or anything else I had to go on during the time. But, because of the situation, I realized maybe my purpose in life is to help those who enjoy tennis to play no matter what level they are. Tennis is something that you can bring those around you together and is a lifelong sport you can play after you are done playing Collegiately or in High School.