Friday, August 10, 2018

Scrimmage v. Angola

Last night, we took the long and detouring drive over to one of our favorite places as a tennis team, the magical world of Angola. Angola is my alma mater, it's where we have our tennis camp, and is home to the best Pizza King in the world.

It is also home to the Angola Hornets, and we scrimmaged their tennis team last night. Angola is a very solid program, a powerhouse in their own conference year after year, and usually a challenger for the Regional title. They are usually ranked in the northeast district of the state, but this year they have graduated 6 of their 7 varsity players are rebuilding a little bit.

Of course, we're a bit in that mode as well. Admittedly, we have more player returning, but most of our guys played at lower varsity positions last year or only got a few matches. So, it was interesting to watch these matches last night. Playing a solid program like this is always a great test.

And there were some really positive signs in the match, including Liam's first round win at #1S, Philip's aggressive second round play at #3S, Jonah and Tyson's grit in their #2D, and Joseph and Chris playing an impressive first round set. Those were some of the highlights, but each player had moments and places where they shined. Braden had excellent serves, Nathan hit some killer returns, Theo moved well in doubles, and Caleb hit some great volleys. And there were more beyond that.

After two rounds of play, we unfortunately got caught in last night's thunderstorm. So we packed up the bus and headed out to get some pizza. Which was great. My dad even joined us in team time.

It was enough tonight to see that you cared. Some of you got frustrated, some of you got really tired, some of you looked a little lost. But all of those things show that you care. That means that inside of you is the motivation to get better. When we get frustrated, tired, or lost it is a bittersweet invitation to response. We can lean into grace and choose to move toward improvement without condemning ourselves, or we can choose the voice of shame, the voice of the lies, saying that we are only as good as what we've accomplished. But you only even stand at that choice if you care. If was enough tonight to see that each of us care.

You are brothers. I saw that tonight in the way we huddled together on the bus ride home, marveling at lightning like I've never seen been. Listening to Theo's phone as it played all sorts of garbled music. Returning the a peaceful place after matches that we weren't all happy with. The bus, and the eating together, helped us put the tennis back into a true perspective. Fun, but not the ultimate prize. This team, these people, they are the best thing about tennis.

I am grateful for...
- no injuries tonight.
- getting home safely through the storm.
- how beautiful and effortless Liam's game looks when he's engaged.
- Chris' attacking forehand.
- hearing the squeak of doubles players shoes on the court.
- a team that laughs on the bus together.
- that you guys listen to my stories of old teams.
- that the seniors always save a place for me at the table.

God, above all, help us to rest in Your truth. Thank You for saving me a seat at Your table to, and one for everyone else that You are reaching out to. May we reach back toward You. May we experience Your grace. May we extend it to one another.

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