How Tennis Shaped My Success

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State Finals @ Hope College Senior Year: Last match of my high school career.

Transitioning from Junior High to High School was a very scary thought when I was fourteen. Growing up going to a private elementary school and then being thrown into the Public Junior High School was a tough move, and the thought of joining the High School had me on edge. Tennis helped get me through this challenging experience. Being put on the Cadillac Girls Varsity Tennis team as a freshman set the course for the rest of my High School career. Not only did my love for the sport grow, but it connected me with the people I now call my best friends, gave me an incredible support system, and a passion that I will never lose.

Tennis has taught so much about myself. It’s taught me discipline to control my mood when I’m down in a match, determination to never give up, and to put your whole heart into every point, and everything that I do in life. It’s taught me that there is always room for improvement, and that I should strive for success rather than perfection. It’s created friendships that I would have missed out on, and gave me a bond with my instructors that I could never replace. It’s broken me out of my shell, and turned that shy fourteen year old girl into the outgoing and independent College Student that I am today.These traits carried me through my four years at Cadillac High School, things I have taken to college, and plan to withhold for the rest of my life. 

Along with playing on the Varsity tennis team, I was also granted the opportunity to instruct young kids on how to play tennis through our local program “Tennis Buddies.” Here I was able to interact with children while teaching them a sport that I love. This experience taught me patience, empathy, and to never take life too seriously. It showed me my love for kids, and my love for helping others succeed which has impacted the career path I plan on choosing. It was incredible every time one of them would master a shot and the enthusiasm that overtook them; that feeling alone was worth all of the time I’ve put into my own game.

I know that tennis will always be a big part of my life, but education has always been my number one priority. I have a drive to be successful, and I am certain I cannot reach my full life potential without getting a college degree. A college education is going to be the basis for my entire life. It’s going to set me on a course where I can not only do what I love in my free time, but love what I do in my everyday career.  

The degree is the most important aspect to a college education of course, but I know that college, just as tennis did, will help me discover myself even more. I will be challenged, and forced to work through those challenges without all of the support I’ve had these past years. I will be introduced to new people, places and opinions, and I will be granted opportunities that will set my life on new paths. I know I will learn, grow and change with a college education, and I am confident that tennis has given me the right tools to do so.

Without tennis I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. I wouldn’t have the role models that I did from my first year through my last that pushed me to do my best not only in tennis, but in school. I wouldn’t have been introduced to the people I turn to everyday for advice. I wouldn’t have learned some of the most important lessons I’ve learned thus far, and I wouldn’t have gained a passion I’ll carry through the rest of my years. Tennis is not just a sport to me, it’s the founder of who I truly am. The day my coach put me on the team she told me, “We really need you to help fill the lineup for this season,” but little did she know that I really needed them too.

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