Texas Memories by Kimo Barrere
The Boys Fourteen’s Super National Hard Court Championships this year was in San Antonio, Texas. Temperatures over there go over 100oF with a humidity of over 90%. That’s a pretty big jump from San Diego’s weather. Because of that, I decided to arrive four days early to acclimate to the weather. I was excited – it was time to go to a new state, with my favorite aunt. We got a rental car as soon as we landed and headed over to the main site for the tournament – McFarlin Tennis Center– to find practice in the remaining days before the tournament. The head coach, Andy, was happy to have me join his group practices and fulfill my needs tennis-wise. We accepted his offer and drove to our new temporary home. We were lucky enough to have good friends that live in San Antonio that provided us with a roof over our heads and did whatever we asked. What good friends!
The routine for the next couple of days usually started with waking up at 7:00. After all the morning rituals, like brushing teeth and getting dressed, I’d eat breakfast, which usually consisted of a bagel with cream cheese and my sports drink. Once I was done with that, I would get ready to go, collect my tennis bag, cooler, hats, towels, sunscreen, spare clothes, and all the other stuff I was expecting to need. On the car ride, I would put on my sunscreen, tie my shoes, and stay hydrated with my sports drink (the weather made it really important to keep cool and stay hydrated). Once we arrived, I would do my agility jog and stretches to prevent injury and start warming up my serve. When Andy showed up, he would pair the other kids and me up, have us warm up with each other, and have us play points out. The winners moved up a court, the losers moved down. I always stayed on the top court. When we were done, my aunt and I would go to a Subway and eat lunch/hang out until it was time for my next practice. I htat practice, I would hit with a pro working on specific stuff my coach wanted. Each practice was an hour and a half. Then, I would go home and eat dinner, rest up, maybe play some video games with my friend, and go to sleep.
This schedule kept me in rhythm for the tournament, but didn’t get me too tired. I had lots of fun. Some of the days, we ended really early, so we were able to squeeze in some site-seeing of the missions that were close by. My friends were really happy to have us over and enjoyed the time too. My aunt seemed to be happy and enjoyed the experience of the whole thing. But the nice, easy schedule wasn’t meant to last…
The draws came out and I had to play a Texan. On the day on the tournament, I woke up knowing I had to play hard, but knew I had to stay relaxed for now. I ate leftover pasta from the previous night and left for Mcfarlin, arriving an hour early from my match in order to warm up with another player. I was playing pretty good, but something was a little off. Something always was, but I was feeling good, and that’s what matters. We both finished and headed to the front desk to check-in. I talked to some of my friends while I waited for things to be sorted by the officials. People started to be called up and I heard my name. I was told my court number and saw that my opponent was a short scrawny kid. On the court, I warmed up with him. He hit ok, but I knew if I played my game, I could make it through. We then started the match. Boy did he hit the ball slow. It threw me off my rhythm and I lost the first game in a heartbeat. We switched sides and I mishit a couple balls, but won because I was smarter. I struggled like this but won the first set, and was up in the second, when I was tired of playing someone that was weaker than me. I suddenly won the last couple of games like how I should, fast and easy. I shook his hand and turned in the score. The day was done, for singles. I still had doubles. I went back home to refuel on supplies and relax after I stretched a little.
Story continues here