Thomas Jefferson

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Game, Set, Match

Posted 09/28/2023 by Amelia Mendoza-Stancer

Oliver Swats, Caleb Stork, Dylan Ahl, Griffin Steimel, and Dean Trujillo, are five varsity tennis players who have worked hard and helped contribute to the team spirit. photo by Katie Martinez

The fall sports season is coming to an end and Thomas Jefferson’s boys’ tennis team is one of the many sports that has been able to capture the essence of team spirit.

Tennis is an exhilarating sport that demands agility, precision, and mental fortitude. This sport has captured the attention of viewers worldwide for decades. Most high schools nowadays have tennis teams, and Thomas Jefferson High School is no different. 

High school is an incredible opportunity for teenagers to try something new and make new friends. Joining the tennis team, regardless of experience, is a great way for students to expand horizons as both a student and a person. Joining sports teams can not only help students make new friends, but can also allow them to find something new that they enjoy, and with so many enjoyable aspects, the tennis team is no exception.  “It’s a great community that creates an overall wonderful experience,” said Dylan Ahl, a freshman who has felt the spirit that the team brings every day. 

The TJ tennis team consists of a varsity and junior varsity team. Having a sizable amount of players on both teams helps contribute to the huge team spirit this sport has to offer. Throughout the season, everyone cheers each other on, regardless of whether they’re in practice or in a match. The positive environment that the players create helps make everyone feel welcomed and a part of the team. “The number one thing we do in games is calling out each other’s names and saying little affirmations here and there,” stated senior Dean Trujillo, a varsity tennis player.

Barring match days, the tennis team has practice every day after school. These practices start off with a 10 to 15 minute warm up, followed by players hitting with their teammates and getting ready to play the match. The coach then brings the team together to talk about the plans and upcoming events for that week. After that, the team works on drills and plays games that work on teamwork and consistency. During these practices, a player usually has music going to help keep the team motivated while they are conditioning. 

When it comes to matches, two singles players of the opposite team play on the same court. The only time two players from each team share the same court is if they are part of a doubles team. Once their opponents arrive, they warm up, taking turns hitting the ball back and forth and practicing serves. After the match begins, the players are responsible for keeping track of the score and making calls regarding whether the ball should be considered in or out. The match ends once one player wins two out of the three sets. 

A few things that would be helpful to know before anyone decides to join the tennis team is that it is a hard sport that requires a lot of practice and even more patience. Tennis is not one of those sports that someone can easily get the hang of in a week. “Getting from a decent player to a good player is very difficult,” Griffin Steimel commented, another freshman who joined the team earlier this year. “It is an extremely slow process for such a small gap of improvement.” Tennis requires someone who has a lot of free time on their hands due to the amount of dedication it takes to become a great player. This makes it difficult for many people but it makes the outcome of the sport even more exhilarating and rewarding when that hard work starts to pay off.

TJ offers many sports and activities that allow for students to learn more about themselves and discover new things that they love and enjoy, and the tennis team is absolutely one of those sports. The team’s supportive and uplifting spirit helps create an environment that makes everyone who joins the team feel welcomed. However, the team also creates a competitive environment that pushes everyone to try and do their best. With teamwork, dedication, and a shared love for the sport, the tennis team has showcased the athleticism and mental agility that tennis requires and is a worthwhile sport to join in years to come.