Ode to the Gentlemen’s Tennis Team
It’s match point. Sweat pools on the ground. Knees are bent. Stance is set. Rackets are held, ready to move at a moment’s notice. The ball flies up. The green fuzz lights up with the burning sun. The racket comes down fast and hard, and the ball flies in the service box. The game is over.
The College Prep tennis team has had an amazing season this year, and our most notable accomplishment may be the defeat of Piedmont, which hasn’t happened for over 15 years. What’s contributed to this success? Our players, our coaches, and most importantly, our team dynamic.
This year, the tennis team has some of the most gifted players in California (that might be an overstatement, but at least I think it’s true). With the addition of four extremely talented freshmen, our team may be the strongest it’s been in a while, as Wendell Pierce, the tennis coach, says.
Besides the players, the coaches on the tennis team really make the tennis courts a phenomenal space to be in. If you’ve met Wendell Pierce or Chris Martin, you would know that they are good-natured, hilarious, and tennis-savvy. During tennis practice, while you struggle to get a serve in, Wendell might come over to correct your grip by a mere centimeter. But lo and behold, your next serve is beautiful. Wendell has been playing tennis for more years than most CPS students have been alive. He once told me that one of his students estimated that he had hit about over one million tennis balls so far. Chris Martin is also a character, in the best way possible. He has a great way of communicating tennis strategies that makes playing the game fun and interesting. Once I was playing doubles, and I kept on hitting it to the stronger opponent. During the break, Chris walked on the court and said very matter-of-factly, “Don’t’ hit to Elvis (my opponent’s hair was quite Elvis-like).”
I haven’t quite figured out what makes the tennis team mesh so well. Maybe it’s the crazy nicknames that make the teammates very comfortable with each other, or it’s the ten minutes we spend every day in the club house talking about everyone’s day, or just the friendliness of everyone on the team. Just for a taste of what the team is like, here’s a list of the nicknames of all the players (subject to change):
Max Forever Yun
Nikhil the Stikhil
Varun the Spoon
Ronil Forever Synghal
Alex I’m Secretly in love with Jackson
Harry Thomas the Dank Engine Yeung
Jackson Oh My
Carve Meat Fitzgerald
Jerrremy Yan (French Accent)
Luc the Ice Berg Bergera
Ahab the Partially Bald Cauliflower
Akhil You Dayal
Chris It’s Actually Pronounced Wang Wong