The dream team

Reflecting on the victorious MVHS girls tennis season

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The dream team

I’ve always played for one reason — myself. Tennis is an individual sport, so all the sacrifices I put into the sport were only for myself. This year, I realized playing on a team meant that I was playing for my teammates, representing my school — not for a ranking or a trophy. This was the first time I truly felt like I was playing for a team.

Of my three years on the MVHS tennis team, I had never before felt as if I were playing for the school or for my team. This year was special – it really was. Our team had bonded over 13-hour car rides in a cramped white van where we would put deodorant up to the vent in order to get rid of the concentrate smells. We window-shopped at Urban Outfitters and went on boba runs after almost every match and these experiences made our team one; there were no longer any small cliques that had formed. Our team learned how to grow, laugh and cry together through our wins and losses.

We only lost one league match this year — only one. Believe it or not, after losing our undefeated streak on our senior night, we were never sad about the loss; our team never focused on winning or setting records, what was important was to play our best and make the team proud. We were crowned league champions in one of the hardest leagues in the country.

We earned our number one spot in the league this year. Players like Rhea Rai, Cynthia Hom and Brooke Young were dependable for a win for every single match. Players like Leslie Ligier, Bianca Young, Sue Kim and Anushka Vijay played each match like it was their last. Players like Zara Fung and Mukta Uparkar were able to pull off terrific comebacks and win game-deciding matches for the team. Players like Aditi Kotha, Meera Bambroo and Jocelyn Tseng kept the team spirit going, giving motivational speeches and pep talks before every game.

Our team understood the meaning of grit: to fight to your very last breath. We learned what it meant to win and what it meant to lose. Our team traveled to San Diego as well as Stanford University and played the toughest teams from Southern California.

This was our year to win. This was the perfect opportunity to win.

But it was stolen. The day before the Central Coast Section quarter-final match, one of our players quit the team. Three months of practices and matches to all of a sudden leaving our team without giving a reason why. It upset us due to the disrespect the player displayed not only to us but to the school, the school that we had played for three long months.

However, what I realized from the unfortunate ending is that playing for a team is a privilege. Playing a certain position on the line up does not define a player and should not have an affect on a player’s ability to play for the team. When you play for a team, you are representing your school, a team full of players, not an individual. When you play for a team, there are certain responsibilitiesn expected from every member.

But we kept our heads held high, and reminded ourselves that we could win regardless. We realized the only thing we had to do was to play our best for ourselves and not for a CCS or a NorCal championship. Unfortunately, we lost in a third set deciding match by only two games. Our team was in tears after CCS. But we were also angry, furious, that someone was able to walk away from this talented team with nothing more than a text message.

We lost our CCS quarter-final match in a three-set deciding match, but when we lost, no one blames any player for losing their match and no one was sad because we lost. We knew this match was snatched away from our fingertips and there was nothing we could do about it. We knew that this year was our time to bring the trophy home.