For the Wrong Reasons
I arrived at practice with my shoes laced, hair pulled back, and the mindset that I was unstoppable. I could play against every member of my team and come out the victor on any given day. It was the first day of practice that week, and challenge matches were scheduled to begin. The team went through our daily shuffle of drills, conditioning, and running to prepare for what was lying ahead. While warming up with my friends, I felt great, talking about homecoming, boys, and a variety of irrelevant events. I felt ready. The odds were in my favor and nobody could stop me. Coach called us to a huddle on center court. In her hands, she held a list on which the matches for the day were written in a dark, red ink. Matches were announced individually starting with junior varsity, continuing until only four girls were left standing in the huddle. My new tennis dress was whipping around my legs, and I could hear the flags flapping back and forth above my head. The suspense was building as I awaited the match that would decide my fate for the season. “Ladies, you all know how this goes,” Coach began. “Best two of three sets. Seven point tie breaker if you’re tied at six.” She paused while the furious wind blew around us, until she was again able to be heard. “Conditions are not ideal today girls, make loud calls, and make your calls as you would ask your teammate to make theirs.” She continued. “Tiffany and Alyssa, you will play on court three. Morgan and Kelsey, you can play on court four. Good luck to all of you”. She handed us several cans of fresh tennis balls, and each of us set out for our designated court. I strode to my court with the arrogant swagger one could only have when left unchallenged. We both placed our equipment on the same side of the court. “Up or down?” I asked Kelsey, preparing to spin my racket to decide who won the first opportunity to serve. “Down,” she answered.
The racket spiraled to the ground and landed with a...
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