April 2, 2012
What would life be without lessons learned? Sometimes you have to experience some adversity in order to gain experience and grow from it. Nobody likes facing tough situations and even less addressing those issues openly while allowing yourself to accept what happened. It takes a strong person to overcome obstacles, but an even stronger team to tackle problems head-on altogether. Our team encountered our share of hardships this weekend, but in a way they brought us insight and helped us move in a better direction.
We finally had our first home match on Friday night after several weeks of traveling and everyone was looking forward to it because we always love having the home-court advantage. We were right on track with our pre-match routine of practice followed by the always delicious sandwiches provided by either Potbelly or Erbert and Gerbert’s. Then, we hustled back on the court again for another short warm up before meeting in our team lounge to listen to our coaches’ words of wisdom. Our philosophy for that night was to view the match as an opportunity for greatness and to not give our opponents too much credit for being a big name. We all wanted one thing: to beat Northwestern.
The team played phenomenal doubles against Northwestern—which is something everyone was proud of because it’s been a main area of focus during practice. A while ago, Ty had us do a drill that required a total of not one, but TWO full-out all-effort legitimate dives on the court to happen for the termination of the drill to occur. The point was that when we were playing, we needed to have the mentality that every ball that crosses the net was attainable and to never think you couldn’t reach a ball. The reason I bring this to everyone’s attention is because during doubles, on match point nonetheless, our very own Alexa Palen acquired some knee wounds while diving for a volley that essentially ended the match. Dedication and commitment at its finest!
After winning the doubles point, we were all hyped up and excited to get on with the rest of the match. However, this is where our first lesson of the weekend was learned. For reasons that can’t exactly be explained, our usual renowned energy that feeds and fuels our team to victory was inexplicably low which may have, in some ways, lost our match. Everyone fought their hardest and did what they could, but sometimes we need that little extra something to bring us over the top. When playing a top ranked team such as Northwestern, we have very little margin for error and it’s something we will need to work on.
Sunday’s match was where the majority of adversity came from for our team. A bit like Friday’s match, our energy was even lower and something that we heavily discussed during our post-match meeting. It’s alright to have off days—everyone has them and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the way we handle those off days that counts. For example, when we’re not playing our best, it’s even harder to be positive and exude confidence, but it’s what we need to learn and remember to do in future matches—especially the close ones. We always talk about the importance of pumping our fists, yelling “Let’s go!” or bouncing our feet because it shows our fight. Sunday’s loss was disappointing of course because our team prides itself in our accomplishments and we always strive to be the best, but we learned from both matches and hope to make improvements.
It’s always easy to see the positives when things are going well, but addressing and taking care of aspects that need work is just as important. We are so excited to continue our Big Ten match play next weekend and hopefully we can get some more wins under our belt!
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