Adversity on the Road

“Adversity makes some people break – others to break records”

The Cal Poly Women’s tennis Head Coach, Hugh Bream, has implemented the concept that we have to be adaptable in all situations. Throughout a tennis match, we do not have control in many things. We do not know what the weather or conditions will bring. We do not know how our opponents will play (perhaps the best match of their life) and we do not know if we will feel at a hundred percent (perhaps under the weather or an injury). However, what we do have in control are our attitudes, effort, and concentration. We can bring this to every match and be adaptable under the difficult circumstances. This is exactly what the Cal Poly Women’s tennis team brought this weekend.

Originally we planned to head to San Francisco on Friday night and play on Saturday, but due to the weather we postponed our trip for a Sunday match against San Francisco and a Monday match against Santa Clara. On Sunday, we headed to Golden Gate Park to play at 11:00am. The courts were wet and we had to postpone the match for a few hours. This is when the girls had to be adaptable. As the coaches roll dried the courts, we had the players stay inside and keep warm. It’s important for them to stay focused and mentally prepared for the upcoming match. A lot of them stayed relaxed by listening to their iPods and laughing with the other girls. Around thirty minutes prior to the pre-match hit, we had the girls do a very long dynamic warm up and stretch to get loose and energized. It is difficult to come out ready after sitting around for a few hours, so the girls did an extra jog, as well as plyometrics and balance drills. After the warm up, we did our ritual talk to prepare the girls. Hugh and I explained that it was going to be windy, it could potentially rain, and the only thing we could control is how we kept it together. We wanted to come out with more energy, more focus, and more vocal support than our opponents. And we did just that. The girls battled with San Francisco and pulled out a 6-1 win. We were excited about the win, but even more excited about playing Santa Clara, who was 9-1 in dual matches this season.

Me and TW playtester, Kana, after a grueling practice

On Monday morning we woke up with some bad news. One of our player’s grandmothers had passed away during the night. It was a very emotional day for her, as well as for our team. To see someone you care about upset and hurting is really hard on all the girls because we are such a family unit. We did our best to support her, but also to prepare for the upcoming match. On top of that, our number one player woke up feeling very sick and we were not sure if she would be able to play.

We took these challenges in stride, met as a team, and discussed the things we could control. We knew some of the girls were not going to be as upbeat or as loud as normal, so those of us who could, would need to bring more team support and energy. We were going to fight out there with all that we had and for as long as we could.

The match began as a grueling, hard, and competitive match as we expected. Santa Clara brought out lots of fans (the hecklers on the hill) and we tried to not let it affect us. The girls stayed focused on their courts, and only on the things they could control. They stuck to their game plans, played tactically, and most importantly with tons of heart. I have never seen a team dig so deep for each point. As I watched us take a lead at 3-2, I was not sure if we would get the win overall, but I had faith in the girls and how hard they were competing. We eventually won 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 on one of the last courts, and 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (11-9) on the final court. We had beaten Santa Clara 5-2 on their home courts.

When we hugged each other after the match, our family had just overcome a tough and difficult day. They had faced the challenges together, overcame it together, and succeeded together.

I couldn’t have been more proud.

Living the Dream,

Suzie

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