Tennis BallLast night was our final match of the regular season and it was against the team from Fort Collins Country Club. We were tied with them for first place, so this was a winner take all match with a trip to Districts on the line. I had something else on the line as well, I was undefeated…

The sun shown brightly. The clouds from earlier in the day had moved to the North and the sky was clear. There would be no escape from the heat radiating off the courts. Each man knew his duty as we set out to win at least 3 of the 5 matches this night. Having won all of my previous 8 matches, I knew my team was counting on me, but still the doubts lingered in my mind. Would this be the night I faltered? Would a loss not only mean the end of my undefeated season but also an end to our team’s season? It seemed as if the weight of the entire heavens was pressing down on me, trying to rend asunder all I had accomplished.

The stage was now set. All of my preparations had led me to this moment. I took to the court against an unknown opponent. I served and quickly struck first blood. 1-0. I kept the pressure on and jumped to an early 4-0 lead. Determined not to go quietly into the night, my opponent struck back. 4-1. Undaunted, I erased any thoughts of a comeback from his mind by taking the next two games and the set, 6-1.

At the beginning of the second set I began to notice the heat, unrelenting and intense. Surely, it was taking a toll on the both of us, but I tried to put it out of my mind. This set was different though, I was able to fight and take the lead but I felt tired and let more than a few shots go by just to conserve the energy I had left. During a change of side I watched my opponent wipe sweat off his brow with a towel and I realized I didn’t need to. That wasn’t right. I should be wiping sweat off my brow, it just wasn’t there. Now I knew what the problem was. I had been too focused on my opponent on the court that I forgot about my ruthless opponent in the sky. I had been drinking during each change of side but apparently it wasn’t enough. I quickly downed extra Gatorade and water in hopes for a quick recovery. The possibility of a third set was looming and I wasn’t going to let the blazing sun dictate this match.

I was still trying to conserve energy and my opponent took full advantage. I had been up 4-2 but was unable to finish things off. Now I found myself having to quash a real comeback at 5-4. Knowing my energy reserves were low I summoned up all I could for one final and glorious push. It was my serve and I had found his weakness, returning my slice serve, which I had been taking advantage of all match. “Get ready for a healthy dose of slice.” I thought to myself. 15-0, 30-0, 40-0. It was match point. I calmed myself and served. He hit a good return to my right and I hit a shot back to the deep middle of the court. He tried to take advantage of my position and hit far to my left but his return went into the net and just like that it was over. 6-4. My undefeated season was complete.

We finished first and would have to wait to learn the fate of our teams. Next to finish were the #2 doubles, we had won. We were now up 2-0 and needing only one more victory from the remaining 3 matches. Our #3 doubles team had a match point but fumbled and found themselves in a battle at 5-5. The gods were on our side this night however, and they pulled it out with a 7-5 win in the second set. We had done it! With 3 victories our team was headed back to Districts for the second year in a row! (And there was much rejoicing.)

Alright, maybe there wasn’t that much drama, but hopefully that was more entertaining to read than me just telling you that I won, the team won, I ended up undefeated, and we’re going to districts. ;-)

The names of my victims have been blurred out to protect their identities.
2012 Results

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