“Mom, don’t take a picture. It’s 500 degrees out here.”

My First Tennis Tournament — A Brief Recap of Somebody Who Had No Clue What He Was Doing

I had always been interested in competing in an individual sport. I had never had a tennis lesson in my life, and had certainly never played any sort of competitive match, aside from hitting with a few friends here and there in high school. I've always been the kind of person who just launched himself into things, so I figured I would do the same with my new tennis “career.” I registered with the USTA ($45 bucks, and they never sent me my hat!), bought a nice new tennis shirt from the Kohl’s down the street, and registered for the Antelope Tennis Classic near Sacramento ($40 more bucks), where I live during the Summer. I registered for the 3.5 level, which I thought would be an appropriate starting point, and received my opponent. I showed up at the courts for my first match, having no clue what to expect. It was 107 degrees at 2 P.M. in the middle of July, and unbeknownst to me at the time, I was playing the fifth-ranked 3.5 level player in Northern California. Not exactly an ideal situation. Long story short, I played out of my mind for 99% of the match, took a 6–4, 5–4 lead, and had 2 match points. About 13 minutes later, I was walking off the court a 6–4, 6–7, 1–10 loser, sun burnt, tired, angry, ready to go home and never play again. About an hour later, however, I realized how much fun I had just had, and decided I had just discovered something I was truly passionate about. I have always lived by the moniker that you can learn much more from a loss than you can from a win, and losing that very first match instilled not only a desire to make up for my choke-job, but to improve my game, learn more, and most of all, gert back on the court. Sometimes the most unexpected things can have the greatest impact, and my first match ever, combined with my complete naiivity about what to expect, has fueled me to my current position as a top 50 ranked player. Will you be next?