Friday, August 16, 2013

Prologue - vs. Angola

Friends, I don't know from where you've come to look at our team's story. You may be a player, wanting to see the story you are living told from another's eyes. You might be a parent, catching up on the news about your son. Maybe you do not have any connection with this team, but you've stumbled onto our story. From wherever you come, let me promise you one thing:

This story will end well.

I know this with a confidence that I cannot completely explain, but that I hope will become clear through the next few months. Monday, we begin a hike together through another tennis season. We have experience, we have our character, we have our work form practice, and we have each other. What blessings God has given! And these blessings will be enough to get us through, and get us through with joy.

And our first competition of the season began with blessing as well. Every year, we join together as brothers during our camp week, which takes place in my hometown of Angola. Then we return to this place of formation, a place where we have spent a week sweating and playing together, to begin our seasonal journey. There is a blessing and a comfort in that cycle.

We were blessed with a great team to compete with. Angola is the 2-time defending champion of our regional. They only graduated one player from last year's championship. So the only new player they add is a freshman (who is excellent) and is only playing #2 doubles. And they all hit the ball so beautifully, driving their opponents back onto their heels and playing with a decisiveness that we have yet to gain. We were given a picture of what a great team looks like when they are playing tennis well.

And we responded well. Even within the scrimmage, guys took it upon themselves to change their style of play, to become more aggressive themselves, to force Angola onto their heels. We had segments where we played outstanding. Jesse's second segment where he controlled the points against Angola's excellent #1 player. Joel and Hans' final segment where they took down the Hornet's #2 tandem. Ryan Duckworth's shining first two segments. Jack Erlacher's shot-of-a-lifetime slice winner. Jacob and Justin's near miss of a win in the second segment. And more that could be mentioned.

We ended the evening at Pizza King, where our stories of Kyle Miller from 3 years ago made us laugh and the cheesy breadsticks filled us back up, with joy. Because, and I'm telling you again so that you never have to fear:

This story ends well.

Segment #1
Abe Thorne - 1-6
Jesse Amstutz - 1-4
Sol Brenneman - 2-6
Joel Gerig/Hans Miller - 2-6
Parth Patel/Landon Weldy - 3-4
Ethan Lapp - 1-6
Justin Zehr - 1-6
Ryan Duckworth/Neel Bhagat - 3-2
Roberto Ramos/Jack Erlacher - 0-5
Jacob Rudy Froese/Paul Krabill - 0-5

Segment #2
Jesse Amstutz - 3-4
Sol Brenneman - 1-6
Ethan Lapp - 1-6
Abe Thorne/Hans Miller - 2-8
Parth Patel/Joel Gerig - 3-6
Landon Weldy - 2-9
Neel Bhagat - 2-5
Ryan Duckworth/Jack Erlacher - 4-3
Justin Zehr/Jacob Rudy Froese - 5-4
Roberto Ramos/Paul Krabill - 2-4

Segment #3
Abe Thorne - won 3 of 5 tiebreaks
Jesse Amstutz - won 2 of 3 tiebreaks
Sol Brenneman - won 3 of 4 tiebreaks
Parth Patel/Landon Weldy - won 0 of 5 tiebreaks
Joel Gerig/Hans Miller - won 2 of 3 tiebreaks
Justin Zehr - won 0 of 4 tiebreaks
Neel Bhagat - won 0 of 2 tiebreaks
Ryan Duckworth/Ethan Lapp - won 1 of 2 tiebreaks
Roberto Ramos/Jacob Rudy Froese - won 0 of 2 tiebreaks
Jack Erlacher/Paul Krabill - won 0 of 2 tiebreaks

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