Stacy smilingly approached the podium for her turn to speak at our annual tennis banquet. The team with families, and fans had gathered to celebrate the end of tennis season. After thanking her family, and the coaches, Stacy turned towards me, and with her voice quivering said, “You pulled me through.” There were tears in her eyes. “You were the best partner I could have, you lifted me up. I learnt to hold myself up. During the worst of times, you brought out the best in me. You lifted me up.” Humbled, I was touched to my core. With lumps in my throat and teary eyed, I glanced around the table, there were smiles and tears on my teammates’ faces.
Stacy and I were the district doubles champions and state semifinalists, a feat no pair had achieved in recent past. As a senior, winning the championship meant a lot to Stacy, capping her four years of tennis with a crowning achievement. I was proud of our accomplishment too; and felt overjoyed to hear that I made such an impact on Stacy.
That was my first year of competing in doubles after 2 years of playing singles on the varsity team. From my freshmen year, I always wanted to play doubles, but the team formats allowed only players ranked one and two to compete. With my petite physique, I had neither the power of Serena nor the natural talent of Federer, but I was a scrappy and a consistent player. Over the two years, I had my share of exciting victories that won the team championships, and devastating losses that cost us the championships. Playing singles, however, was solitary, and I missed the camaraderie on the courts. After a devastating loss to our arch rival team in my sophomore year, I became resolute to qualify for doubles. Through the year, I worked on my serves, improved my footwork, got comfortable at net, and in my junior year, I beat all my seniors to become number one. I was ready for doubles. Happen-chance was how Stacy and I wound up playing number one doubles for our