Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Legs Feel Like Achy Spaghetti

This had better be a quick one.  But honestly, I should really really really document this before I lose it.

I played a tennis match today.  We played against probably our biggest opponents, a high school known for its athletics.  My coach was super pumped up.  He was really motivated when he got out onto the courts (He really really really wanted to win).

As I was warming up, we heard shrieks (of joy) coming from the other courts.  I looked over, and Coach was on his phone.  Then someone told me that he'd been offered a job that he'd been coveting for a long time (he had an interview yesterday).  He was crying (although you couldn't tell; he had his sunglasses on) and calling people to tell them the great news.  

Of course, with that, we had to win.

It was close right off the bat.  Right off the bat.  I got bageled; we were tied by the end of the first round, 3 sets to 3 sets.  Then I lost 6-1 (Psychologically, it was not a good match.  I knew the girl was number one singles, and even though I probably could have beat her, everything got to my brain).  

And I knew, the third set, playing against their number two singles player, that I would have to win it.  

It was close.  And long.  I was tired when I started the match; I grew even tireder as it wore on.  1-0.  2-1.  2-2.  3-2.  3-3.  On, and on, and on, until the score was 5-4, in my favor.

I won the three points.  She clocked one.  40-15.  Set point.
She won the point.  40-30.  Set point.
She won the point.  Deuce.

Let's just say I ended up losing the game.

It was 5-5, which meant we had to go to at least two more sets in order for one of us to win.  I was tired, frustrated.  My legs felt terrible, and my heart was literally pounding.  My breath came out in short, raggedy gasps.

She won the next game, 6-5.  

If she won the next one, she would've won the set, it would've been over, and we would have lost to that high school.

She lost the next game.  6-6.  By this time, we were one of the last three matches.  Many spectators were watching my set, which put the pressure on me. 

I knew that this was a big, big, big set.  The difference between winning, and losing.

But somehow, I wanted to win bad.  Like, bad.  I wanted to beat them.  And I had wanted this--kind of everything on my shoulders (selfish, selfish, selfish).  I wanted to prove to myself that I could be clutch.  That I could handle pressure when it mattered.

Last time something was on my shoulders, I choked.  I promised myself I wouldn't this time.  Because I had come too far, fought too hard, to let this go away.

Tiebreak.  I served.  I lost the first point.
I lost the second point.

It went on and on.  I pulled ahead by two points--4-2--only to have her catch up to me.  4 all.

The sun was in my eyes, on the right side.  Her serve.  I hadn't been winning her serve in the previous games.  

Somehow,  I was still calm.  I wasn't freaking out (well, maybe a little bit).  But--it's a God thing--and I knew I had to win.  I knew that all those other Team Tennis sets, the ones where I choked and lost to people who were worse than I was?  Those had built up to this moment, so I could win this when it actually counted.  

She served.  

We went on a long rally.

Then she hit it out on the left.


She hit it out on the left again.

6-4, set point.

Everything's a bit fuzzy now, but I know that I served, and we had a rally, and she didn't swing at one ball.  It was in the corner, so I wasn't sure if it was in or it was out.

I asked, "Was that out?"

I couldn't hear her answer.  

Then my teammates started cheering, and I knew: they wouldn't be cheering if I'd lost the point.

I won the set.  In tiebreak.

My coach came up to me and said that 1) I had pretty much won the match against the other high school, and 2) it was one of the best days of his life.

I'm not really a celebrater.  I can't kick back and relax unless I'm positive it was an actual, pure victory.  I was thinking, Well, if I'd won those first two sets, we might not be in this spot.  And maybe those balls that looked out-but-might-have-touched-the-line?  Maybe they were in.

Probably it wasn't a pure victory.  Nothing can be a pure victory.  Stuff bugs my conscience sometimes.  And my legs feel like achy spaghetti (thank you to one of my teammates who helped me coin the phrase up.  Achy spaghetti, if spaghetti could ache).  

But you know what?  We won.  And you know what?  It's a learning process.  Before I was hitting balls out left and right.  Now, I feel like I'm pulling myself together...kinda.

Oh yeah...and I did the announcements today! (the other announcer, who's a senior, has the same name as me.  It's pretty cool)  Everyone says I did well.  I think I did well.  So, today was a good day.

Oh, and I don't have as much homework as I did yesterday, but it's 7:13 p.m. and I STILL HAVEN'T STARTED IT...


P.S.  I PROMISE PROMISE PROMISE the TV show reviews are coming this week.  Sorry for forgetting, guys!

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