I love Michael Jordan, "I succeed because I failed".
I tried out for my high school tennis team as a senior in high school, I had begun playing again toward the end of my junior year. I was ready, but... I got the flu the week before tryouts and barfed for days, lost 10 pounds, and ONE challenge match. Losing that match 6-4 meant I did not make the team. Something better came... I ran track instead and made lifelong friends, and learned about become a true athlete. By the end of the track season, with minimal tennis practice I was easily beating varsity players from that season. It left an indelible influence on me as a coach, that fitness is a huge part of performance.
I already mentioned that I took a long break from tennis and became an avid runner. At the age of 23 I decided to begin competing in USTA touranaments during the Class system, prior to NTRP, I played C's and lost first round of my first four tournaments. I was ready to quit again, but then I got a WIN! A became 5.5, B became 4.5, C became 4.0. While still a 4.0 I began to help out with an inner city youth program, and hit with some high school kids at Piedmont High School. Later, I became the coach of the Piedmont Team. I also became a certified teaching professional, and from there moved to 4.5.
During that time I had a problem when I broke off half of my meniscus, and needed to have it 'scoped. Doctor said "Running, Basketball, Tennis - Pick One". Rehabbed like a maniac, got back decided to play only competitive doubles to preserve the knee, and viola, I got my hated label "Doubles Specialist". Won the AVAC doubles 4.5 with 24 very good teams in the draw. YES, 24 doubles teams! Went to the NorCal Grand Prix, played another team of guys who should also be in the 5.0's, and got to finals. Played three years of 5.0 doubles with the same partner, Rich Cutforth, a really fun dude to play doubles as your partner. With great joy we made all the other 5.0 teams crazy. While we never made a splash at the Grand Prix, we kept hearing "Thats the team we don't want to play" since our defensive ability was so strong we were tough to hit winners against. We could flip a lot of points from defense to offense with one lob.
Teaching responsibilities, kids, and all the other fun stuff meant the end of my serious playing. But I was on Cesar Hernandez' first ever USTA team. Yes, as the... doubles specialist. haha.
Two more surgeries later, I am now working to get my game back and mix it up a little. Im good for one set of singles, and much more doubles. I believe I can still compete at a strong 4.5/5.0 level, but need to put in more work.
I am happy to have joined our clubs Singles Flex League, and can't wait to see how it all works out.
My history is one that influences my coaching. I want to teach people how to play injury free, and also, I want to give kids the opportunities I did not seize on myself. How many of us wish we had started earlier, or made a stronger commitment?