Saturday, September 6, 2014

Letters from Triton

Dear Team,
I'm very proud of you today. I'm proud of the way you played. I'm proud of the way that you supported one another. I was proud of the way you served. It was so cool to see you sitting all together as a team watching the last two matches on the court, as the freshman finished up the last of our clean sweep of wins today. It was great to see you find any way you could to help clear the water off the courts this morning, without even being asked. Ethan and Jonathan sweeping off the courts, Simon and Jackson blowing the water off, and every body helping somewhere.

I've said for days and days that we have to focus on how we want to play. The reason for this is because we also need to focus on how we want to live. In tennis, we try to play with the characteristics that positively define our game, with the best skills that we have, and we don't worry about the score. In life, we try to live with the fruits of the spirit and the talents we been given, and don't worry about the outcome. Today, I was lucky enough to see a bunch of guys who were doing both.

Dear Byeong Min,
If I had an award called the "Moment of Smooth Beauty," you would win it every time. To watch you play the past couple of weeks has been simply gorgeous. You are making the right choices, moving the right way, choosing the right swings and playing relaxed. I hope that continues throughout the season. Today, you jumped out to an early lead by angling balls away. Then you finished off the match by staying patient. That takes a lot of focus, a lot of returning to the simple thought of only playing the point you are on. I have enjoyed watching this.

Dear Sol,
Your match today was a great one for you, and I hope you realize that. You struggled out at the beginning, losing 2 of the first 3 games, but then you found your flow. Then, you couldn't be stopped. Early in the match, you seemed to be sluggish and a little down. But then I saw you truly use your body to create energy and excitement. I could see you jumping around behind the baseline before a point, I saw you moving quickly to the ball during a point, and I watched you take joy in your winning shots. The match changed with this change in you, as you changed how you were moving and playing, and the score went 11 games straight in your favor.

Dear Doubles,
Anticipate. Simple. Smile. That is all :-)

Dear Joel,
Congratulations on your first singles win today. You did an excellent job of moving and swinging. You kept the ball in the court and that makes a difference. I love watching you get better this year. You could hardly hit a serve in during camp week and now you are winning singles matches!

Dear Jonathan,
I could say the same about you! Well, you had played a little bit more tennis than Joel, but you have gotten even better. I was so thrilled today with the last point of your match. What have we worked on several times this week? Swinging through backhands. So today, holding the advantage on your serve, you got a ball to your backhand side and what did you do? Exactly what we've been talking about. You swung through aggressively and pounded the ball up the sideline for the win. I love to see what we practice happening in the match. Great job!

Dear God,
May we rejoice in you! Rejoice! Thanks for the gorgeous world. On a morning like this after the clouds and storms have rolled through, everything seems newly alive. As the white clouds rolled through the sky this early afternoon while we picked up balls to go home, I had to think that this was how you felt on those first mornings of creation. Everything seems alive and everything is good. Thanks, because we know that every good and perfect gift comes from above. And thanks for the best gift of all... that no matter what happens, storms or open skies, you are always with us. Amen.

Moment of Sheer Beauty
So many moments today seemed gorgeous. The sun made me smile. Our play made me smile. Daniel eating a habanero pepper made me smile. But as far as specifics go, three things stood out. Jesse Amstutz's volleys all day long, Lane Miller's long volley battle at #1DJV, and Landon Weldy's Japanese Speed Training at #2D.

Jesse was attacking beautifully today. Bryce kept stats for me on Jesse's match, and some of them are eye popping. Jesse had an aggressive margin of +28. That's adding his winners to the errors he forced, and then subtracting his errors. It's a great predictor of who will win. Much of that happened because of his approaches and his cutting volleys. The angles he found on his putaways today were impressive.

Speaking of angles, Lane Miller had an excellent net showdown in his match. After Brandon's serve, Lane cut the ball off at the net and hit it toward Bruno DeSouza. Bruno popped it up and Lane volleyed it back through the middle. Bruno moved to his left and struck it hard at Lane, and Lane reflexed it short to the right of Bruno. Bruno scooted forward and scooped it up towards Lane's backhand, which Lane the finished off past Bruno's Trojan teammate.

And Landon, well, he used his Bryan Brother skills well. After Ryan hit a short return of Spencer Glingle's serve, Glingle stepped in and ripped the ball at Landon. With the shot coming from inside the service line, Landon jumped back and sliced his racket down in front of him, deflecting it up the line for a big winner.

But I can only give the award to one, because that's what an award means. So, to Jesse goes the spoils! Way to put the volleys away and play beautifully aggressive tennis.

Moment of Savage Beauty
For savage, there could also be many contenders. When playing how they want to play, both #1D and Sol get so many overheads, which are just powerful and savage by their nature. But I can't give it to them time and time again. So, how about two points that stand out, and then we'll choose one.

At #2D, Landon got going on serve during the match. With his serve going in, Ryan got many attempts at the net. The best was when the return came low to Ryan at the center of the net. Not able to pound it, Ryan went for a touch drop shot. Spencer Glingle sprinted forward and scooped it up, but right to Ryan's overhead, and he smashed it through Glingle's legs.

At #2DJV, Daniel Robles and Dustin Miller worked well together. Daniel provided the legs to run everything down and many times Dustin provided the power. In particular, I saw one point where Daniel ran down a ball to his forehand and the dashed forward to pick a short ball off the ground and flick it into the open court. The ball was then lobbed up to Dustin who slammed it past his net opponent.

Again, great jobs, lots of aggressive play, but only one winner of the award. So... well... let's give it to Ryan because the touch and then the power is difficult!


#1S - Jesse Amstutz - 6-1, 6-0 - Jared Fisher (12)
#2S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-0, 6-1 - Gavin Eads (11)
#3S - Sol Brenneman - 6-2, 6-0 - Mace Eads (10)
#1D - Hans Miller/Simon Hurst - 6-0, 6-3 - Austin Sellers (12)/Alex Eib (12)
#2D - Ryan Duckworth/Landon Weldy - 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 - Ben Waggoner (12)/Spencer Glingle (12)

Junior Varsity
#1SJV - Ethan Lapp - 8-0 - Keygan Moiser (9)
#2SJV - Jacob Gonsalves - 8-2 - Josh Wagers (10)
#3SJV - Jackson King - 6-3 - Keygan Moiser (9)
#4SJV - Joel Yoder - 6-1 - Josh Wagers (10)
#1DJV - Lane Miller/Brandon Nguyen - 8-2 - Bruno DeSouza (12)/Dalton Bailey (11)
#2DJV - Daniel Robles/Dustin Miller - 8-1 - Richard Riedl (12)/Tanner Senff (11)
#3DJV - Jonathan Yousey/Lucas Brownsberger-Keyes - 6-3 - Richard Riedl (12)/Tanner Senff (11)

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