‘Tis the season- the offseason that is- or the time of year where I do not have to pick up my tennis racket every single day. For most of the summer until typically mid-October, tennis consumes a large part of life. Practices, matches and a summer job at a tennis camp are part of my daily routine. It started in high school and fortunately I carried those habits with me to college. There are many differences between high school and collegiate athletics, obviously, however there are some similarities that I will forever cherish.
I joined the York Catholic Women’s Tennis team my freshman year of high school but it wasn’t until the end of my sophomore season that I began to truly understand how much I loved the sport and how much I enjoyed being part of a team. I nabbed a spot in the top 9 (or the “varsity” team) junior year and moved up even farther senior year. In high school, everyone was finished with classes at the same time so it was expected of every member of the team to be at practice at the same time. Everyone lived right around our home tennis courts so there were always parents and friends at our tennis matches. There were many times when York Catholic players new girls on the rival teams. My team and I would spend so much time together from August to October that we became a family and we created memories I will never forget.
Then, I came to Rosemont College. I joined the tennis team with the intent of improving my skills and staying in shape (AKA avoiding the dreaded “freshman 15”). The atmosphere of collegiate athletics is entirely different than high school. The biggest difference for me was the size. I went from a team of 18 girls to a team of seven by the end of the season. There was less depth so one injury creates a huge riff in the lineup. There was, however, tennis courts that were in walking distance of my dorm. In high school, my courts were 20 minutes away in a car! The courts at Rosemont were five minutes away when I was walking. Practice was scheduled everyday from two to five, however, due to conflicting and constantly varying schedules, players were only required to give a “solid two hours” every day. One of the my favorite changes involves the uniforms. Our uniforms at Rosemont are washed for us! I did not have to wash my uniform after a Friday afternoon match against Cabrini for a Saturday morning matchup against Keystone.
My favorite part of being on a team is the camaraderie: the triumphs, the losses, the tears and the laughs. Every single minute with my team, whether the Fighting Irish or the Ravens, created a memory. Whether you are a have never picked up a basketball or a racket or you have been cradling that lacrosse stick for years now, I would highly recommend joining a college athletic team. Next week? Time management…