Tennis Tuesdays By Ben

“So how was school?” Asked My Mom as I entered our big red suburban. School had just ended for the day and I was soon going to have tennis practice. “Fine.” I said as I closed the car door. The day had overall been good so far, and I was looking forward to tennis. “I have your stuff for tennis in your bag here.” She pointed to my bag. The bag itself was green with black stripes with a big yellow, red, and white tennis racket sticking out of the back. We left the school campus and drove to Creve Couer Racket Club, where I would soon practice.

As we neared the Club, I noticed the large amount of tennis courts outside and wondered whether we were going to play on the inside or outside courts. We drove along the narrow concrete road that lead to the packed parking lot. I wondered why the parking lot had so many cars in it. Maybe there was a tennis tournament going on? I asked my Mom that question, and she said “Probably a basketball game down in the athletic area.” I peered over to the entrance of the club itself, and noticed the giant pumpkin still there from Halloween, and the giant CCRC logo on it. I wondered why that was still there, as It had been about a week after Halloween, and two weeks after my fourteenth birthday.

My Mom stopped the car, and went over what I needed to do as I grabbed my tennis bag. “Make sure to ask the woman at the counter for toasted ravioli for 5:40, and make sure to get dressed quickly after your practice. Remember, you have jazz band tonight.” “I know mom, oh wait!” I opened my backpack and grabbed my band binder. “Can’t forget this.” I said as I shoved the binder into my tennis bag, trying not to ruin anything in there. “Ok. See you later, Mom!” “See you!” She said as she drove off and I turned around to look at the entrance to the club. Most of the walls were brick, but there was a stony flooring. I turned left to see the two big wooden doors I had become accustom to seeing. I opened them swiftly, and stepped inside.

I looked around. As usual, on my left, was the help desk, with tennis rackets behind it for sale. I saw some of the pro’s/Instructors there talking among themselves, while one was putting new string into a racket. I peered to my right and saw an empty glass case and the entrance to the restaurant area. The week before, the case had been filled with candy, with a sign on it that read “Can you guess how many pieces of candy are in this case? Submit your answer to the desk for a chance to win a spooky prize!” I walked further down the floor and to my right, I saw the stairs that led down to the inside courts, eight courts in total. I started walking towards the locker room, and right before I made it, I looked over to my right and saw all eight courts, each of them colored in light, but not quite bright, green. You could see the restaurant area to the right, with a glass case separating it from the courts. The ceiling was quite high, with many lights at the top to keep the area lit. At the very right, at the end of the eighth court, there was the huge clock. The clock itself didn’t have any numbers, but it was pretty obvious that it was the main time source in the court area.

I made my way to the locker rooms, changed and came out swiftly. I still had about twenty minutes left until my lesson, so I headed to the restaurant area. The Wall on the right was glass windows, same as the left that looked onto the courts. There were a few couches in the left corner, and many tables spread along the left wall. I walked over to some of my friends I saw. One of them was a small sixth grader with brown hair, light skin, and a knack for beating me in tennis. The next was a fifth grader with blonde hair and a knack for making everyone around him laugh. There were about 10 others, all of us waiting to play tennis.

About twenty minutes later, I asked “Is it time yet?”. I received a response that can be summed up as “Probably.” So we all exited the restaurant and walked down the staircase to the courts. As we descended upon the tennis courts, I suddenly surged in excitement over the thought of playing tennis with some of the best kids I knew, as well as to practice with some of the best instructors there.

We arrived on court eight, the farthest court down. I set my bag down on the wooden bench nearby. “Ok. C’mon. Two laps around three!” Yelled one of our instructors. I ran as fast as I could around those courts and asked people to warm up. Eventually, the kid with blonde hair who I saw earlier agreed, and we warmed ourselves up. We did many drills after that, eventually gaining the chance to play among ourselves.

I immediately went for the best player that I could play, which happened to be the small brown-haired kid I saw earlier. So we found our court and started to play, I felt the passion that both of us had for trying to take the other down.  And as the first ball was played, both of us knew that this was going to be a long game. With each ball that was hit back into the court, both of us tried a little harder to hit the ball back to the other side.

Eventually, both of us exhausted, we made it to a tie game with only a few minutes left to play. It was at this point that both of us knew we had to play our best, and our best we played. Every time one of us managed to win a point, the other would come back harder to do their best to catch up. With about two minutes remaining, my opponent led by two points. It looked hopeless for me. As the next point played out, I was being challenged on many shots, and each shot felt like I was mustering the last of my strength. As my opponent tried to finish off the point however, I saw a glimpse of hope. My opponent made a crucial mistake, giving me the ball while they were very close to the net. As I lobbed the ball over their head and into the far corner of the court, I knew that I could still come back and win!

I quickly put the next ball into play, so we had enough time to settle the game. As the ball kept coming my way, I hit it with rapid force and passion. Eventually, my opponent missed the ball into the net. I had tied the game! Just as I was about to serve the ball into the court for the final point, our instructors called time and told us to pick up the balls. My opponent and I looked at each other, and then back at our instructors. We pleaded to them to let us play our last point, and they agreed. As I held the ball steadily in my hand, I looked over at my opponent and  I served the ball into the court to we began our final point.

This last point was filled with all of the passion and hard work that each of us had put into this great match. Forehand after forehand, backhand after backhand, the point would not put itself to rest. After a solid minute and a half I had had enough. I hit the ball with as much strength as I could muster. The ball snaked its way past my opponent’s racket, and I won!

As our practice concluded, I reflected on the journey through the match I played. I realized that the match personifies exactly what it means to be persistent. As the fatigue of playing so hard started to take over me, the feeling of what I had accomplished really started to magnify, and I realized that I would have lost this match had I not been persistent to come back and eventually win.

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