Day 1 of Qualies, ITF Tournament 1, Waco, Texas
Coach Julius (via text message to me): Game on!
Me: What’s that mean????
Coach: He just started.
Me: Ah, thanks! Keep me posted!
Coach: Very rough start. Nerves. Lots of unforced errors. 0-4.
Me: Uh oh
Coach: 0-6. Playing scared. Poor shot selection and too many short balls off his forehand and backhand.
Me: Hmmm . . . hope he can pull it together for the 2nd . . .
Coach: 1-1 in 2nd
Me: Calming down?
Coach: Not yet
Coach (10 minutes later): 0-6, 1-6. I’m speechless.
Me: Will be interested to hear from both of you after you have time to reflect. How’s he doing???
Coach: Having a tough time.
Son: I lost.
Husband: Sorry to hear that. We’ll talk a little later.
Me: Will call you in a bit. Love you.
Son (6 hours later): Just got done hitting with Slovakian kid.
Me: Call me – wanna hear!
Me: Why? How did it go?
Son: It was good. I played well. Won the set 6-3.
Me: That’s good. What’s on tap for tonight and tomorrow?
Hubby: Nice. Call me back.
Son: Don’t feel like talking on phone guys. Going back to hotel right now to shower and recover – it’s hot as heck. Then tomorrow I’m gonna hit with Slovakian kid and Sam.
Me: Sounds good! Have fun!
(Coach texted a photo of my son on court)
Me: Thanks! How’s it going???
Coach: Good. We watched a lot of tennis this morning. The guy he lost to ended up qualifying. I worked him out for an hour earlier this afternoon, and now he is hitting with a Slovakian kid. Will be playing some sets in a bit.
Me: Sounds like a great day!
(3 hours later . . .)
Coach: Just lost a 3 hour 3 set grinder against the Slovakian kid. Good lessons learned.
Me: Good to hear. How’s he feeling mentally?
Coach: A little beat up but competing like crazy.
Me: That’s a good sign. I love a good fight!!! More tennis tomorrow?
Coach: Planning on watching some 1st round main draw matches and a possible hit before leaving town.
Me: Sounds good! Despite the first round loss, sounds like a successful trip.
Coach: I believe it was a successful trip, but the next few weeks of practice will be the true measure of this trip’s success.
Me: Yes, true. You’ll have to keep me posted on how he’s doing. 🙂
Coach: Will do.
Me: Thanks for being such an amazing coach and mentor to him!
Coach: I’m just happy to be able to contribute.
Me: Well, we appreciate you more than you know! I hope M shows you that through his actions on and off the court!
All in all, I think it was a good decision to send him to Waco. Yes, he lost his very first qualifying match, but he bounced back and took the opportunity to learn from the loss. The match was against a boy from Mexico who he never would’ve had the chance to play in a sectional tournament. His practice sessions were with a boy from Slovakia – again, a boy he would never come across in our section. He watched one of the top juniors in the country play in the main draw and figured out what sets this boy apart. He now has something concrete to work toward. Like Coach Julius said, these next few weeks will be a true test of the trip’s success and my son’s commitment to reaching the next level. It will be interesting to watch and to analyze and to see if my son is willing to put in the even harder work to get there.