"It gives me that push to not just go through the motions."
- Serena Williams, speaking about how she processes a loss.
We see the season as a gift. The whole thing, from bus rides to practice to tournaments to bad jokes to losses to rain outs to workouts to overheads to cross court battles. We believe that we have been gifted this year.
So what do we do with a loss?
It's a question we now have to face after stumbling at Concord this weekend. We came up against the #3 ranked team in northeast Indiana, and we gave them a great fight. But the Varsity couldn't quite turn the corner and find the resounding answer to win.
Parth and Landon had to dig deep to grab a win at #2 doubles. Pushed for the first time this season, they found that keeping the ball in the court and going through the motions of good doubles wasn't going to be enough. They had to play with confidence and aggression. After a great first set, the confidence left and they found themselves trailing in the beginning of a deciding third set. But they did what great teams do... they attacked. And with confidence. They took the net, they moved their feet, they finished off points, they held their serve. And they got a beautiful third set win.
Joel and Hans got put back on their heels a bit in this match, but recovered and moved forward, attacking the net and communicating well to take a well earned victory. Abe and Jesse both played polished opponents and ground out as long of matches as they could muster. Jesse just barely missed playing a third set once again. But both the singles players lost.
In the meantime, Sol Brenneman had fought back from an 0-3 hole in the second set to win the set 7-5. This set up a third set that was for the varsity match.
But, if you are reading from the beginning of this chapter, you already know that he didn't win. From the outside looking in, it looked like a combination of nerves, lack of energy, and shots from his opponent did Sol in.
In the meantime, the JV cruised through their second win. They are still undefeated and playing great tennis for the most part. Today, the doubles were especially impressive, as they all played with new partners but figured it out pretty quickly.
So, what brings this chapter to a close?
How about a verse, a quote, and a challenge...
James 1:2-4Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
It gives me that push to not just go through the motions.
Whether you are varsity, JV, or just a reader here, loss induces sadness. It is an opportunity squandered. Or at least that's what our minds tell us. There's no denying that there is sadness when we lose. But loss provides another opportunity, one that must be grasped joyfully. Loss reminds you to stop going through the motions (of practice, preparation, love or service) and return to your activity with the whole of your heart. Joyfully receiving this gift produces a completion that is what we will celebrate at season's end.
#1S - Abraham Thorne - 1-6, 3-6 - Nick Pollock (12)
#2S - Jesse Amstutz - 4-6, 4-6 - Jared Searer (12)
#3S - Sol Brenneman - 5-7, 7-5, 1-6 - Riley Huffer (10)
#1D - Joel Gerig/Hans Miller - 6-4, 6-3 - Mitch Boyer (10)/Aaron Allen (11)
#2D - Parth Patel/Landon Weldy - 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 - Mitchell Lozier (12)/Nathan Herman (9)
#1SJV - Byeong Min Lim - 8-1 - Braden Fish (10)
#2SJV - Justin Zehr - 8-4 - Erick Roebuck (12)
#3SJV - Jacob Gonsalves - 8-6 - Gideon Butler (9)
#1DJV - Ryan Duckworth/Ethan Lapp - 8-4 - Jake Diver (9)/Spenser Jaenichen (11)
#2DJV - Neel Bhagat/Jack Erlacher - 8-0 - Kell McGee (9)/Tate Nicoson (9)
#3DJV - Simon Hurst/Bryce Miller - 8-1 - Jake Lovette (9)/Brandon Pletcher (9)
#4DJV - Lane Miller/Brandon Nguyen - 8-3 - Kell McGee (9)/Tate Nicoson (9)
#5DJV - Matthew Peters/Jackson King - 7-8 (3) - ??? / ???
#6DJV - Jacob Rudy-Froese/Daniel Robles - 2-8 - Jake Diver (9)/Spenser Jaenichen (11)
#7DJV - Roberto Ramos/Paul Krabill - 8-5 - Jake Lovette (9)/Brandon Pletcher (9)