Thursday, August 28, 2014

Letters from Goshen

Dear Varsity Team,
I know that we all fought hard last night. I know that it is difficult to finish matches. I know that it is really hard to restart a match where you were playing so well and got a lead, only to be interrupted by the rain. And really, that's part of what happened. For the most part, we were playing great tennis last Thursday when this match started. We had taken the lead at several positions and were trying to close it out when the rains hit.

Coming back out, credit to Goshen, they had taken a new attitude and attacked with aggression. We didn't meet that as well as we could have. We got put on our heels and honestly looked scared. At #2D, we had won the first set but then lost 3 out of 4 games to lose the second. At #1D, we lost the first 5 games played to be forced to a second set. At #1S, we lost 2 points to force a tiebreak, then lost the tiebreak to lose a heartbreaking first set. Those setbacks are difficult to overcome.

Interestingly, at #3S the opposite happened, we had lost the first set but turned it around to win the second. Sol played aggressively with nothing to lose and took the set. So the match ended up coming down to 3 third sets.

And we lost each of the 3rd sets, including the #2D and #3S in third set tiebreaks, #1D by the score of 6-3.

And as tough as that was to swallow, let's stop and look at this with realistic eyes. We've got to play better and focus on how we're playing the points, not what the score is. We know that. We've got to do that now. But, look how close we were in this match with a good team. We know we need to get better, but the truth is that we're very close to being a great team. The thing that is left, to put us over the top is winning close matches.

Dear Junior Varsity Team,
Your first night of tennis at Goshen was not so good. In the restart, things went much better. I'm especially proud of the freshman, who all picked up wins tonight. Every time I looked over, it looked like you guys were having fun and enjoying yourselves. That's what I long to see. Make sure you bring that in support of the varsity guys too, and vice versa, because that's what makes the whole team a joy to be with!

Dear Joel Yoder,
Congratulations on your first win. Pretty nice, isn't it? I'm glad that you've come out for the team because you have such a delightful and joyful spirit. You are a great example of how we'd like the team to compete, and you're only a freshman in your first year playing the game! I'm glad that you got to get a victory early in the season.

Dear Luke Hostetter,
It was great to see you briefly. I'm sorry I didn't get more time to catch up with you. It's been inspiring to see your adventures through the lens of Facebook, your skiing and ultimate frisbeeing and whatever else you are doing now. But it would have been even better to talk with you about it. Come back to our Fremont match tonight, maybe I'll even have you do some coaching. Having two members of our Sectional winning team on the coaching staff would be amazing :-)

Dear God,
Thanks for the day yesterday. Thanks for my brothers. I am teaching in class this week that You are a God of covenants, agreements that are based in relationships. When we go through hard times, when we go through great times, it's the relationship that we hold on to. Roll back any veils that cover our eyes and let us see the truth in that. We are joined in with our brothers on the tennis team, and thick or thin, confident or scared, we will work through it together. We are committed to You, and thick or thin, confident or scared, afraid or joyful, we want the peace of God that transcends all understanding to be the place we work through it all - with You. In Jesus name we come to You. Amen.

Moment of Sheer Beauty
Dustin, you and Joel worked together so beautifully last night to get the win. I didn't see many of the points, but when I did it made me smile. On one point in particular, Joel was returning serve and hit the ball out and you turned to him and said something, then smiled and bounced over to your spot to hit your return. I can only imagine that you encouraged him, because he laughed and got a big grin on his face too. That's the essence of doubles, the way to play the best. That's also the essence of being on a team. Hope you guys had fun, because I had fun just looking over there from afar!

Moment of Savage Beauty
In tense situations, it's difficult to finish points. We tense physically, and we don't swing freely, loosely and with power. Sol's comeback in the match last night (which was awesome by the way) was all based on loose and freely swung approach shots and pounding the ball away at the net. That becomes more difficult when the match gets tighter and closer. Still, on the fourth point of Sol's tiebreak, Luke Rush tried a lob that was just behind Sol. Instead, of retreating and simply flipping it back into the court, Sol took several shuffles back, leapt up and crushed the ball. It slammed into the court and then into the fence. It was a moment that I was extremely proud of in a close match.


#1S - Jesse Amstutz - 6-7 (2), 2-6 - Hudson Kay (11)
#2S - Byeong Min Lim - 3-6, 1-6 - Evan Beck (11)
#3S - Sol Brenneman - 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (3) - Luke Rush (11)
#1D - Hans Miller/Simon Hurst - 7-5, 1-6, 3-6 - Logan Troyer (10)/Zach Troyer (12)
#2D - Ryan Duckworth/Ethan Lapp - 6-1, 1-6, 6-7 (5) - Peter Vukovich (12)/Andrew Vetter (12)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Jacob Gonsalves - 1-8 - Jacob Grewe (10)
#2SJV - Daniel Robles - 3-8 - Drew Weddle (11)
#3SJV - Lucas Brownsberger-Keyes - 4-7, ret. - Dirk Oyer (11)
#4SJV - Landon Weldy - 8-4 - Simon Myers (9)
#5SJV - Brandon Nguyen - 8-2 - Gabriel Castro (?)
#1DJV - Landon Weldy/Brandon Nguyen - 6-8 - Zach Ganger (11)/Hugh Birky (10)
#2DJV - Bryce Miller/Lane Miller - 8-6 - Giovanni Aguayo (11)/Corbin Harrison (11)
#3DJV - Jackson King/Jonathan Yousey - 8-1 - Bobby Sessa (10)/Drake Hostetler (11)
#4DJV - Dustin Miller/Joel Yoder - 8-6 - Aidan Strite (10)/Nathan Burns (10)
#5DJV - Bryce Miller/Lane Miller - 8-1 - Unknown / Unknown

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