A Glimpse into the Life of a Tennis Player


Phaul Barnes, Guest Writer

The Titan girls tennis team recently completed their season with a 4-8 conference record. While that may not seem like an impressive record, there were several highlights which the team could boast about.  One of these highlights happened at the Marian Catholic Sectional when the varsity doubles team of Phaul Barnes and Camryn Shupryt beat the 2nd seeded team to qualify for the IHSA state tournament. Once at the state tournament, these ladies managed to win one match which hasn’t been done by a doubles team at TPHS in over 25 years. Another accomplishment, which deserves boasting, is a JV 1st doubles win against Lemont by Sophia and Claire Vodnik. Congratulations on these accomplishments!

Junior Paul Barnes was able to reflect on her time over the last several years on the tennis team. Her reflection below gives us an inside look into the life of a tennis player.

Tennis is a game of ball, racket, and court. It requires little running, hand eye coordination, and if you play long enough, strategy and aim. Honestly, when I first heard it didn’t take a lot of running, I was sold, which is why I’m surprised people don’t play. I think people view tennis the same way they do cheerleading, not really a sport. 

Now, I’m not going to say that before I started playing tennis that I thought it was the most interesting thing in the world, but I always knew it was a decent enough sport. I knew about the Williams sisters, and I knew that, according to the world around me, they were legends.  However, I never really knew anything about tennis itself. Granted, I knew that, like ping pong, you hit a ball across a space over a net. How hard could that be? That right there was my original thought when a girl came up to me my freshman year and asked, “Hey, want to play tennis?” I was so excited to have been asked to be involved that I almost cried, but my freshman self is a story for another time. Getting back on track, practice was that same day, but it had been a half day meaning I had time to go home and get ready for my first day of tennis.

I was hyped, it was warm out, and I didn’t even have a racket. I completely forgot that I didn’t even own anything close to a tennis racket. I obviously wasn’t the brightest, but it was okay, because when I got to the practice, Coach P. had a racket for me. I was HORRIBLE. I went in thinking, “Yea! I got this! I’m a fast learner! I’ll be fine!” I was wrong. I thought I looked great, but in reality, I looked like trash. We aren’t even going to talk about how the season went. Yeesh. Maybe if I become a comedian, that’s what all of my jokes will be about, my freshman days. 

I can’t even remember most of the matches that I played as a freshman. I do remember going against Lemont and being terrified out of my mind because of how fast they hit the ball. I wasn’t ready for that yet and poor Krystal, she got stuck with me as her doubles partner. We got creamed, and it was tragic. Luckily, the girls were really nice, and they beat us with respect. Don’t get me wrong though, none of that is to say high school tennis is sunshine and rainbows. Obviously you have your days when you can barely hit a ball in the court, let alone over the net. There will always be that one opponent that had a crappy day and has an even crappier attitude. There will be matches when you almost feel bad if you beat your opponent because you can tell their coach is going to chew their ears off when it’s over. Of course there will be matches that you lose and you feel horrible because you know you could’ve done better. 

There have been several times when I’ve broken down and cried because of how I lost a match. I can say with 100% certainty that I’ve cried at least once every season over a loss. Make fun of me and call me a crybaby all you want, but when you really think about it, if you’re passionate about it, all sports can be like that. 

Honestly though, none of that is the point. That entire trip down memory lane was important to tell you that tennis is a great sport. Not a lot of running, awesome people, some good times, some bad times, some screeches of victory, and some tears from a loss. This is what a sport, in my opinion, should be.

The team finished proud of themselves and proud of each other, which is the true goal of competing on a sports team.  Best of luck next season, also!