Author: Student Blogger, Ibadat Javed
The weekend before our homeschool/tennis group started again, I played a major zone tournament in College Station. I was especially nervous since I hadn’t done well at the tournament the weekend before. However, I’d had a pretty successful summer, losing only 7 of the 29 matches I’d played. My motto of the summer had become: “The first three matches are road kill; the semi-finals is where it starts.” (tactful, I know…)
Although tournament weekends can be pretty stressful, my dad (who travels with me to most tournaments) and I tried to relax during any break I got between matches. I checked out the A&M Football Stadium which was so huge that it was overwhelming. We also made a quick sunscreen stop at Wal-Mart which was stocked with “college essentials” such as gigantic boxes of cereal, toothpaste, and granola bars. I think I stood there for nearly five minutes, imagining how awesome college must be, what with all those granola bars… Although I was stressed out in the morning, after winning my first two matches and reaching the semi-finals, I became more relaxed. A friend, also in the tournament, invited me out for Mexican food and, to this day, I still joke that the most challenging part of the weekend was not ordering the huge plate of nachos with extra sour cream. But trust me on this, unless you know it works for you, Mexican food is not the best thing to eat the night before a tournament. We discussed our matches and talked about what we did well and what we could have done better.
Tip: During tournaments, it’s good to unwind at night and talk to a friend in order to calm your nerves before a big match.
At about 8 pm, I had a sudden realization that I was out of clothes and frantically explained the situation to my dad, who was deeply invested in a movie on HBO. We made a last minute visit to the laundromat and sweet potato fries trip to Harvey Washbangers (check it out if you’re in College Station – their food looked amazing, the sweet potato fries were great, and they play good music all the time). I was asleep by 9:15 pm.
On Sunday morning, I began my semi-finals match against a girl who I had beaten once before. I had beaten her sister three times so it’s safe to say that I wasn’t a family favorite. Her parents were riled up and I was nervous. My coach gave me a lengthy pep talk over the phone during which I said maybe two words at the most. I was up 5-4 in the match and it started raining. Scratch that, it was pouring. The ref told us that there was no chance we would play in less than an hour so my dad and I headed back to the hotel. An hour turned into two, which turned into three…in between Gilmore Girls episodes, I would head down to the gym and run for a few minutes on the treadmill to keep my body warm.
Tip: Between matches, keep your body warm by jogging on the treadmill or doing the bike.
At 11 am, my friend and I were extremely bored and he decided to go Pokémon hunting. I followed him out into the rain and we spent nearly 20 minutes walking up and down the sidewalks hunting for the latest Pokémon. At noon, we headed back to our sites, and to my relief and dread at the same time, the courts were dry. My match was called and I headed back to the court to finish the match. I ended up winning 7-5, 6-1. I was so unbelievably happy since I had never reached a final in a major zone tournament before.
My opponents were still on court, battling, and I had a few hours before the finals. My dad and I headed to Starbucks where I had a bowl of fruit and a chocolate chip muffin. Not the healthiest thing in the world, I know… For me, eating only a little between matches works well, though. My opponents ended up playing a 3 ½ hour match and my finals match was scheduled for 4 pm, with a 60% chance of rain. I was trying to stay optimistic and told the tournament desk: “Well, there’s a 40% chance it won’t rain.” We were the last match of the tournament and it started raining the second we got on court. We tried waiting out the storm but it was getting dark and they had to rain out the tournament. Despite not being able to finish the tournament, I take pride in the fact that I was up 30-15 in the first game of the match, though.
About our Student Blogger
Hello, my name is Ibadat and I have been a student at Laurel Springs School for five years. I am currently a sophomore. I play full-time tennis and in my free time, I enjoy reading (anything from books to the back of juice boxes), writing (especially poetry), binging on Gilmore Girl reruns, and eating pizza as often as I possibly can. My favorite book at the moment is Catcher in the Rye and I am currently trying to find my way through Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. My favorite subject is Literature (for obvious reasons) and I want to major in Creative Writing in college.