Saturday, October 4, 2014

Letters from Sectional, Round 2


Dear Team,
Thank you! That was an unbelievable morning and afternoon of tennis. And I've been so honored to coach you this season. Can't wait for it to continue Monday night. I want to tell you that it took incredible courage, nerves, and belief to do what you did this morning. To turn a 5-0 loss into a win is something most teams never get to say that they've done. It will make this year unforgettable for you.

And above all, the way that you made the brotherhood proud, supporting one another. The first question the newspaper reporter asked me was how we had such a great team spirit. It's always because you've bought into loving one another.

Great job, congratulations! Now, one by one . . .

Dear Hans and Simon,
Boy, did you guys ever set the tone for the match! Down 2-5 in your first set, Seth had the simple observation that it looked like you were thinking too much and not just playing. And so you went and just played aggressive and awesome from there on out. Winning 5 games in a row to capture the first set! Awesome. Epic (to use Simon's words).

And I hadn't told everyone this before this morning, but with the win, Hans Miller now has the most wins for any varsity player in Bethany Christian history (52)! What a way to do it. And smiling the whole time! So proud!

Dear Byeong,
Way to gather yourself under pressure. Against an opponent that you'd lost easily to last time, you came out playing some of your best tennis of the season. I was happy to see you hitting your shots and moving your feet. Then you got a little tentative in the second set and couldn't break serve. When you switched at 4-3, I told you to simply relax and play the way that you wanted to play. You turned the tables quickly and found yourself with a 5-4 lead, serving for the set. You held your nerve incredibly, playing one good point after another. I loved watching your composure and belief as you battled through your match to give us the 2-0 lead.

Dear Jesse,
Of everyone, I might be most proud of how you played today. You came out strong, winning the first set. You were attacking, consistent and just going for it. I loved it. In the second, Hudson began to make less errors and find more spots to be aggressive. In the third set, it looked like you were down and out, losing 5-2 and not being able to find any answers. But you were able to play aggressively, win three straight games and stave off the end of the match. You pushed it to a tiebreaker, where I thought you played very well. In the end, you came up just short of providing our clinching point, but the way you played that match (both mentally and physically) showed just how much you've grown from the first Goshen match. Great match!

Dear Ryan and Ethan,
So, we were up 2-1 when you took the courts and you knew we might need you to win. And you played ridiculously tentatively in the first set. But in the second set, down 3-0, you figured out that you just needed to have fun. To turn it around. I remember my exact words when you crossed over at 3-0, "You're going to be mad at yourselves if you don't just play for fun." I didn't know how you'd respond but I thought that it was true. You responded with excellent play. Ethan, you crushed your groundstrokes and put the pressure on them. Ryan, you volleyed amazingly well and also put them in many difficult positions. Awesome! I'm sorry you didn't get to play a full third set and dropped the super tiebreaker. I think you'd have had a good chance, but you can blame that on . . .

Dear Sol,
Incredible. Early in the season you lost three straight three set matches, and in every one of those you had held a lead. It was simply because you didn't stay aggressive. So throughout the rest of the season, you've honed your game to stay aggressive under pressure and get ready to play today's opponent for the Sectional title. And today, your preparation paid off. You came out and played brilliantly, from your serves to your attacks to your finishing overheads. Again, it was so much fun to watch. I had tears in my eyes as you finished out the Sectional title for us, knowing that you've put in a lot of mental work to get yourself there. Way to go! I was privileged to watch it.

Dear Parents and Fans,
You have no idea how encouraging you were. Playing at a venue like the racquet club where you cannot hear the fans on your big shots is kind of crazy. But looking out and seeing our cheering block with hands in the air, waving in silent applause was unbelievable. I'm sure you helped keep everyone light and ready before they played their matches too. I appreciate all of you, from the JV guys who came along to each parent and grandparent so much! Thanks!

Dear God,
Thanks. Not necessarily for the Sectional title, but for continuing to develop and grow us as people. We've come a long way as men since the beginning of the season. That is the Holy Spirit's work in us and nothing else. I thank You that we are secure in Your love. No matter what happens, we are Your sons. Because of that, we sing Your praises. Nothing on the court, in fact nothing at all, compares to the peace and the affirmation we can have when we receive Your love. Thank You.

Moments of Sheer and Savage Beauty
Of course, it was the moment that we clinched the Sectional Title! While all the matches had their beautiful moments, this match ended on Sol's service game when he ripped a topspun forehand high into his opponent's backhand corner. The ball bounded just in front of the line and left the Redskin player stretching for the ball to his backhand. He didn't get enough on the attempted shot and it fell just in front of the net, in front of Sol's hands that were pumping in victory. I clapped and smiled and felt so grateful for the way that we had played. I turned to the crowd outside the window and pumped my fists as they waved their hands in silent applause. Truly a great moment!


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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got some input? Feel free to post below!