Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chapter 1: vs. Jimtown

And lo, the racket is freewill, which makes the ball rebound;
And noble beauty is the chase, of every game the ground.
from "Tennis Sonnet" by Edward de Vere

Every season is about choices. We make a choice to join the team, we make a choice to buy in to what our coach is talking about, we make choices about how hard we'll practice, we make choices about what shots to hit at what angles, we make choices about whether to listen to tactical advice, and we make choices about our attitude and determination. 

It's part of what makes tennis beautiful, a mimic of life itself. We've got the freewill to decide what we want to do and how we want to act.
And last night we chose to chase.

Sure, we were chasing different things. Landon and Parth were chasing perfection, Sol was chasing down a bad memory from last season, Abe and Jesse were chasing comebacks, and many JV players were chasing down their first wins. Some of us were successful.

Landon and Parth played one of their most complete and confident matches of the young year. Both attacked and talked and believed they would put their opponents away. Sol never wavered from a game plan that included an attacking element he lacked last year in losing to this same opponent in a third set tiebreak. Simon Hurst got his first high school win with veteran Justin Zehr, after sticking with and conquering his serve.

Some of us weren't as successful. Lane Miller and Bryce Miller were on the cusp of their first win, up 7-6 in their 8 game pro set, needing four points to win it. But we lost the chase for a moment, stood still, and found ourselves in a nervy tiebreak. Abe Thorne didn't focus in from the beginning on his chase, and found himself down 0-3 to start each set. Despite valiant comebacks, he couldn't quite get over slow start. 

But perhaps the night as a team was best summed up by Jesse Amstutz's match. He got out to a solid start, whipping groundstrokes left and right and taking a 2-0 lead. But Jacob Gongwer, one of only 2 Jimtown seniors, came right back, and Jesse only held a 5-4 lead trying to close out the set. He became tentative, and that indecision led to errors, which led to anger. It looked like a loss as the first set slipped away and he found himself at a 3-5 deficit in the second set. 

It was time to give up or chase it. Jesse decided to chase. He chased his own anger off with a calmness. He chased the balls down, moving in to find the corners of the court with winners and approach shots. And he chased down his score, moving from behind to ahead. Winning the second set, he continued his momentum right through the third, where he turned a dramatic close match into an easy win.

He persevered. And there was, as poet Edward de Vere noted, a noble beauty in the chase. 

Of course, while Jesse embodied and manifested much of what we'd like to be this season, this is not the end of the story. This is the first match, this is the beginning, a foreshadow. 

And we have the choice of how we will continue our noble chase. 

#1S - Abe Thorne - 4-6, 5-7 - Mikey Pawlak (11)
#2S - Jesse Amstutz - 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 - Jacob Gongwer (12)
#3S - Sol Brenneman - 6-2, 6-0 - Nick Beron (12)
#1D - Joel Gerig/Hans Miller - 6-2, 6-3 - Adam DeShone (10)/Ben Janowski (10)
#2D - Parth Patel/Landon Weldy - 6-1, 6-0 - Isaac Pope (10)/Hunter Price (10)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Byeong Min Lim - 8-3 - Brock Johnson (11)
#2SJV - Ethan Lapp - 8-1 - Alfredo Lima (10)
#1DJV - Ryan Duckworth/Neel Bhagat - 8-4 - Jesse Oakley (11)/Matt DeCloert (9)
#2DJV - Justin Zehr/Simon Hurst - 8-2 - Zach Hughes (10)/Jeff Slocum (10)
#3DJV - Lane Miller/Bryce Miller - 7-8 (2) - Jesse Oakley (11)/Matt DeCloert (9)
#4DJV - Jack Erlacher/Brandon Nguyen - 4-6 - Zach Hughes (10)/Jeff Slocum (10)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got some input? Feel free to post below!