That championship feeling

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That championship feeling

At the end of the day, it's always great to win.  (goggle.image labeled for re-use on Wikimedia commons.)

At the end of the day, it's always great to win. (goggle.image labeled for re-use on Wikimedia commons.)

At the end of the day, it's always great to win. (goggle.image labeled for re-use on Wikimedia commons.)

At the end of the day, it's always great to win. (goggle.image labeled for re-use on Wikimedia commons.)

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The Catholic League tennis playoffs were held on Friday, May 10.

I knew I wasn’t going to win, because I was playing singles three, which means pretty much that  was the third best player on the team. This was just my second year playing tennis, and I did improve a lot over last season, but I knew other players were better.

Going into the first match, I asked my opponent from Marmion how long he had been playing, and he replied “around six years.”

Immediately, I was nervous because I figured he was better.

Nevertheless, during the first set I played really well; my serves and returns were on point, and I won the set 6-3.  I was off to a good start.

But it was the second game was where things got interesting.

My opponent started to get upset and picked up his play, and I lost the first game 2-6. Going into sudden death set, I was resigned to the outcome, because it was clear he had all the momentum. As I expected, I dropped that set 3-10.

Still, I wasn’t that upset because I knew I had give my best against a really good opponent.   I then fell into the consolation (loser’s) bracket. The second match, I took advantage of his weaknesses and beat him 8-1.

The third match, I knew was going to be a bit more difficult than the second match, he was a lot better. When my serves got down, he couldn’t even touch them. The De La Salle player was a worthy adversary. I ended up on top with a win of 8-3.

After the match, we had to tell the scorers our scores, and the woman said, “Okay, Mount Carmel advances to he consolation championship.”  I was like, “holy cow, I better win this.”

The consolation championship match was very difficult, but I had faced and beaten my opponent from Providence before, so I knew all of his moves. I was confident I could beat him again.

This time, though, he was a lot better. The match started off with volleys back and forth, back and forth, and soon the score was 2-2.  Then, inexplicably, I started doing terrible, and lost the next three points to make it 2-5.

I got very upset, but I channeled my emotions into better play, and soon my serves and turns were too good for him. I won the next three points to tie the score at 5-5.  Then, I messed up on two of my returns to make the score 5-6 in his favor.

I knew that if I “loved” the next set I would have lost because he would have been up two with one more set to win. I told myself that I had beaten this kid before; I could do it again. I just had to get into his head, knowing that every time he lost a point he would get more mad.

I won the next two to make the score 7-6. I needed just one more game to win.

During that next game, the score was tied. I needed one more point to win the championship. He served the ball; I returned it; we went back and forth, back and forth. Then, annoyed, I hit the ball in the corner of the court where I knew he wasn’t going to get it. He ran, slipped and fell, and I won.

I was so happy that I jumped up in the air and yelled “Let’s go.”

I didn’t get a medal or plaque, but the experience was great. I was tired from playing those five hours of tennis, my legs were finished, but it didn’t matter.  I had won, and it felt great.

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