Written by Bailey Kaufman Tuesday, 30 October 2012 14:26
Four years ago, if someone would have told me that I would be playing tennis my junior and senior year of high school, I would have laughed and said,“No way!” Back then, I was sure that nothing could keep me from playing volleyball. But I was wrong.
Rewind to the beginning of my sports career. I grew up watching my cousins play volleyball; so naturally, I decided to join the middle school team in seventh grade.
For the first game, I got to start on seventh grade varsity. I was ecstatic. I’m not very athletically gifted, so this was an amazing opportunity for me. Unfortunately, I came down with a nasty cold on game day. I still played, but my head was so congested I could barely function. After that game I was placed on the C team and remained there for the rest of middle school.
In high school, I decided to continue to play volleyball. However, Erin and Peyton, two of my close friends, decided to join the tennis team. They tried to convince me to join too, but I was still pretty determined to play volleyball.
My first two years of high school volleyball didn’t go as well as I had hoped they would, though. I still had fun, but I wasn’t completely happy with how things were going.
Although I wasn’t entirely satisfied with volleyball, I intended to still play my junior year. I attended the midnight practice and the next day’s practice. I was miserable. I just wasn’t having fun and I didn’t look forward to the season ahead of me. That’s when I began to realize that maybe volleyball actually wasn’t the sport for me.
I couldn’t totally quit sports, though. I was already not playing basketball and track and I wanted to do something athletic during the year. So the afternoon following the second volleyball practice I texted my tennis friends. They agreed to meet me at the tennis courts and teach me a little about the game.
That evening, I dug out a racket from our storage room and stepped on to the tennis court for the first time.
Peyton and Erin showed me some basic tennis moves and told me all about the fun things that the tennis team does. That night, after way too much thinking and overthinking, I texted my volleyball coach with my decision.
“I’m going to try playing tennis this year,” I said. And just like that my volleyball career ended. But in that moment, I made the best decision I’ve made so far in my life.
I showed up at my first tennis practice the next day with very little knowledge about the sport that I was about to play. All I knew was that I was trying something new and I was going to make the most of it.
Slowly, I learned how to play and began to really appreciate the game of tennis. It really is a great sport, and the tennis team is the best team at HHS. (That might be a little biased, but I think it’s true!)
Looking back, I am so incredibly glad I chose to play tennis. I don’t like to think about the “what ifs” in life, but in this situation it just makes me even happier with my decision.
If I would not have decided to play tennis, I probably wouldn’t have become good friends with some really awesome girls, especially my doubles partner, Claire. I wouldn’t have lettered for playing varsity two years in a row. And I wouldn’t have discovered a huge piece of who I am.
Trying something new isn’t always an easy thing to do. It requires some confidence, quite a bit of bravery and a whole lot of patience. But, as I learned these past two years, it is definitely worth it in the end.