I just came home from a tennis match against Newport Harbor High School, one of our toughest rivals in League. To summarize, we won 12-6. It was a great day for us; that sense of unity and excitement was priceless and I’m so grateful to be part of such a great team.
But, that’s not the end.
What felt greater than the win was the bond between my partner and me.
I play doubles, and in tennis, both players are equally responsible for their part. One player misses and the point goes to the opponent. Even if you’re playing well, you can still lose if your partner’s not playing their part. If your partner’s playing well but you’re not, then you are the cause of the loss. It’s all about trust and forgiveness.
I stand about 2 inches behind the base line with the ball in my left hand. On the other side of the net, I see the girls from Newport Harbor, alert and seemingly ready, as expected. I look over to my doubles partner Brianna, standing up at the net, her eyes glued to the opponents.
I can’t let her down.
I bounce the ball five times, my “ritual” whenever I serve. Five just feels like a good number. I toss the ball at one o’clock, bring my racket back, and the racket meets the ball perfectly. The ball shoots into their service box. They hit the ball back to my forehand. I drive the ball cross court, they hit it away from me and —
BAM. Brianna volleys right between them, finishing the point off.
Chills run down my body. The good kinds. Instinctively, I clench my hand into a fist. I look at Brianna—Brianna looks at me. I probably looked really happy because her face broke into a wide, warm smile too. I run up to her and give her a fist bump.
“Dude, you’re amazing.”
“No, you’re more amazing!”
“Alright, just one more. Think about nothing!”
“We got this.”
I love my partner. I love this connection between us. I love how much trust we have in each other and I love those chills I get when she finishes the point off so flawlessly and beautifully.
I love every second we’re playing tennis together as a doubles team, and at the same time, the thought of her leaving tennis in a few weeks and graduating fills me with unimaginable sadness.
Playing doubles with her, both of us having a clear destination, believing and forgiving— It has formed a bond; not just a friendship, but one that seems unbreakable no matter what happens.
Thank you, Brianna. Just a few more weeks, I don’t want it to pass by so quickly. I just want time to stop. I don’t want this to end.