Friday, August 22, 2014

Letters, August 22

Dear Varsity, 
We started the match playing much better tonight, with much better confidence and attitude. I loved your honesty throughout the matches, trying the best you could to keep yourself in control of your mentality and strategy. My favorite thing was the way we were dealing with adversity. Both #1D and #1S had chances to put away the first set and were denied, yet stayed calm and positive and took the advantage again. Sol lost the first set, then responded by fighting through the next games, making the long and continuing to compete. It was fun to coach last night!

Dear Jesse Amstutz,
You said my three favorite words last night, and they really hold the key to how good you can get this season. I'm sure you know which words I'm talking about, "This is fun." Tennis is fun, and when we play like it is we play so much better. And you were playing excellent last night. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Dear Junior Varsity,
When a good team is put in front of you, it is an opportunity. Those matches are the ones who will remember forever. Let me tell you my story:

Sophomore year of college I got drawn in the conference tournament against the #1 seed from Taylor University, who had beaten 6-2, 6-1 in the regular season. He was a hard serving lefty who liked to serve and volley. He also happened to be the coach's son. We played late at night because it was raining, and all of the tournament matches had been moved from 12 outdoor courts to 5 indoor courts. We were almost the last match off. He was supposed to beat me and was really good, so I just went for it. Every return I tried to put at his feet. Every serve I tried to pound it or place it in difficult places. If I lost, I was going to lose playing confidently. And if I lost, well, I was supposed to anyway. I won the first set 6-0 and because it was the conference tournament and several teams wanted Taylor to lose, I had a lot of fans cheering me on. I kept up the play in the second set, and my opponent got frustrated, but he also played better. He ended up beating me 6-4 in the second set and also in the third. But that match taught me how to play. Over the next two years I only lost about 5-6 singles matches, because I learned to play this loose confident style.

Last night, you played a talented and experienced team. No freshman were on that team, and only a couple of sophomores. They were good. But we looked mentally intimidated. When we you play good opponents, don't be scared of losing. Instead, enjoy the awesome points! If you win them, you might get your opponent frustrated. If he gets frustrated, you might win! It's nothing but a great opportunity, so smile and go get them.

Dear Team Moms,
You are great. You cheer for us. You come to the matches. You type up funny sayings that make us smile and put them on our lockers. Then you make great food for us to eat at the matches. It was fun last night to dodge the drips from the deck by the Goshen courts and eat together as a team, long after our opponents had left for home. It was fun to sit and joke and enjoy being with each other, and you really help make this possible. Thanks!

Dear Weather,
You are not so great right now. This week has been very frustrating as we wait to see what happens in the skies. Last night, every time we went to think about loading the bus, it would sprinkle again. Then, in the midst of our tight match, it really rained. I wonder, maybe you are just testing our joy. But you did give us one great gift too, we got to watch the Bryan Brothers together and think about how we get better. That was awesome.

Dear Antigua,
For the second time in a row, we went with a relatively unknown company for our tennis shirts. Last time, with Duc, we were really happy - thought it was even better than Nike or Adidas. Now we went with your jerseys, with their classy collars and all. And they are awesome. "They are like church clothes that feel like pajamas that you can play your tennis matches in." Very happy with the shirt!

Dear God,
May we rejoice in You always! As the season goes along, let us continue to take time for the one thing that is needed - time to sit and listen to You. We can get so busy, with homework, tennis practice, matches, washing our tennis shirts, eating, wasting time . . . let us take deep breaths and remind ourselves of Your presence and power.

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