Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Letters from Regional, Round 1

Dear Team,
This is obviously the toughest of all the letters to write. The one that represents our last match together. I hate dwelling on disappointment, and so I want to write nothing and move on. Forcing myself to write about this match means that I start going back through every moment that I wish could have been different, that I reanalyze every decision I made, every word that I uttered at the fence, every time I wasn't there to encourage or guide. I want it all back to try again.

But that's not what we've talked about all season. All season, I've asked you guys to be about the next point. This point. The one we are on right now. And the point that we need to be on right now is celebration of what God has done in us throughout this season. I've seen us grow and deepen as the season has gone on. I've seen us make mature choices to give of ourselves, and watched as we have received peace because of our foundation in God. We're not finished products, but we've got to celebrate the good.

And because that's the order of the day, I'm going to focus on the good of what happened.

Dear Jesse,
I thought you did an absolutely fabulous job of pushing through at #1S this season. Tonight, you played a great #1 player. And you did everything that you could. I know at times you got frustrated this season because you were thinking too much, but I know why you were thinking so much. You cared. You wanted to win for the team. You wanted to do everything possible to come through. Just know, as the season closes, that you did. I know you did everything possible, and it's only because of you that we are Sectional champions. We wouldn't have won if you weren't part of the team. That's the absolute truth. I love the effort you put in, tonight and always.

Dear Byeong,
I could see how much you wanted to win tonight. In your little fist pumps, in your eyes, in your effort. Remember that the more you want to win, the more you have to move and go for it. That will serve you well in your future years. Tonight capped off an incredible season for you, a season of shotmaking. I couldn't believe how many times I'd feel like you were out of position, then you'd hit an amazing approach shot. You attacked the net several times tonight and put him under so much pressure. I've loved watching you play this season. Can't wait to help you take the next step.

Dear Sol,
Your last set may not have been what you wanted, but your first set comeback was impressive. I'm not really sure what inspired you to it, but I loved watching your competitive nature in the match. You've brought a lot of belief to the team this season, and a lot of good perspective. Our run through this season would not have been possible without you. You stayed committed tonight to playing the way you wanted to play. Sorry it didn't end how you wanted it to, but don't forget how many times it has. And how many brothers were there waiting for you when you are not on it.

Dear Simon and Hans,
You played a great match tonight. You looked confident, you picked yourself up from mistakes and you looked like you were having fun. You tied it up for us at 1-1 after Jesse's loss, which was important to keep everyone fighting. I know that you guys have been a dominant doubles team for us this season. Every time that we've won a big match, you've been one of the reasons. Thanks for doing it again tonight, and with so many smiles.

Dear Ryan and Ethan,
You fought, battled, had patience and persevered tonight. I knew you could win this match, and you did too. At the beginning of the match it made you nervous. In fact, after you missed a set point I think it made you very nervous. But I was so proud as to how you battled through that nervousness. You continued to do the things that made you successful all season. And you did them with confidence. How true that is of life too. We do the things that God has gifted us with, and watch how God will provide. In this match, you had the patience and confidence to let that happen. The nerves went away, and by the third set, you were playing top notch tennis. I'm glad you got to end your season in a way you will look back on with joy.

Dear God,
It's difficult to feel joy in the aftermath of a defeat. In fact, I've not posted this blog until a week later because it has been hard to write. But, when we have the time to step back, the reality is that You've been so faithful and giving to us throughout the year. There is great joy in You. In watching how You helped us grow. In recognizing how You helped us learn. In taking another breath in. You never brought us wins and losses, but You did give us Your Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. May we continue to receive these precious gifts, and may we celebrate the work You've done and will do. Thanks God. We love You.

Moments of Sheer and Savage Beauty
Everybody had points today that were beautiful. Ethan served out the second set to bring #2D. Ryan finished off his career with a serve and volley point, slamming an overhead from just inside the service line to win his final match. Jesse won his first point of his match in style, stretched out wide to his forehand and slicing a passing shot past a disbelieving opponent. Simon had a beautiful backhand volley drop shot. Hans served with power and had his forehand working. Sol had several amazing slams and Byeong had several signature drop shots. But the moment of sheer and savage beauty was when the team gathered around Sol as the match ended, stood in a circle with nothing to say. Sometimes saying nothing reveals everything. We cared so much for the season and for each other, we didn't want it to be over. We cared so much for Sol, we wanted to be there for him, but didn't have the words to express how much. I was a savage type of beauty, one that hurt, but it was in recognition of a season that has been sheer joy!


#1S - Jesse Amstutz - 1-6, 1-6 - Austin Mohamedali
#2S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-2, 4-6, 1-6 - Evan Hart
#3S - Sol Brenneman - 7-6 (4), 3-6, 0-6 - Kyle Manns
#1D - Hans Miller/Simon Hurst - 6-3, 6-2 - Adam Dills/Adam Albertin
#2D - Ryan Duckworth/Ethan Lapp - 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 - Corey Wagner/Aaron Beard

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