Better Luck Next Year


The 2011 tennis season has, for me, been dismal. I play on two USTA (United States Tennis Association) teams--a ladies' league on Thursday nights and a mixed doubles league on Sunday afternoons.

The leagues started at the beginning of April, and in all that time I've only won two matches. 

This season just isn't my year for winning, I guess, though I've been giving it everything I've got, and I've played some close matches. 

Yesterday was the closest yet. 

Mixed doubles means it's a girl/guy team vs. another girl/guy team. It's pretty fun playing with and against another guy, and will say I've enjoyed my Sunday matches more than Thursday. Girls get plain mean when they play tennis.

Yesterday, at 2:00, I headed to the court armed with water bottles, Gatorade, and sunscreen. It was a ridiculous 102 degrees outside, and I started sweating as soon as I walked out on the court.

For those of you who don't know (because scoring in tennis can be confusing), you win a set by being the first team to win six games. If both teams get to six [games], you play a seven-point tiebreaker. Then, you play another set. If one team wins two sets, that's it. But if both teams win a set, following USTA rules, you play a ten-point tiebreaker to decide the match.

Our first set went back and forth, with each team winning a game until both of us were at six. We were all dying by that point. It had been over an hour, it wasn't getting any cooler, and it looked like we were evenly matched. Though Ryan (my partner) and I were playing some good tennis, we ended up losing the tiebreaker 4-7. 

So started the second set. 
We were tired, but somehow we quickly got ahead and ended up winning the second set 6-3, forcing a ten-point tiebreaker.

By this point, the other matches were finished, and there were at least fifteen people sitting on the bleachers watching us. Each side cheered when their team won a point, and I could really feel the pressure. 

The first point of the tiebreaker was a long rally, and when the point was over, everyone roared in approval. All four players were playing amazing tennis, and it looked like it was going to be a close tiebreaker. And yet, in the anti-climactic way of things, I'll just say that we ended up losing the tiebreaker 4-10. I was dead on my feet and very depressed. I hate losing probably more than anything, and I'd honestly given everything I had to that match, only to come up short once again.

I've since decided that it obviously just isn't my season. Looking back over the previous months of heartbreaking losses, I can only hope to have better luck next year. This season in 2011 I've learned about defeat. Losing graciously is not something I'm good at, and I guess I needed the practice. 

But for next year, I think I'd like to learn about winning humbly. After this season, I really need to practice that too.
Amy Nielson said...

ooooh, sorry it didn't go as you'd hoped. here's to next year :)