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The Colonel Chronicle

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Lila Tallagnon, Arts and Entertainment Editor • June 12, 2024
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I’m Glad I Tried Out for Tennis


The first time I ever cried about sports was when I joined the tennis team. I cried, first, after tryouts. Having had the experience of one summer’s tennis camp as a child, I decided I would give it a try. Then, I clumsily missed every shot, and stared in awe as the starting line up seamlessly returned each of them. I went home feeling embarrassed about my underestimation of tennis, disappointed in how I performed, and desperate to be part of a team. I kept thinking, “why do I care so much?” Despite my life-long aversion to sports stemming from general fear and disinterest, I suddenly felt severely intimidated by the racket I held in my hand and yet desperate to understand it.

So I continued to show up to tryouts, inspired by the girls, both novice and expert, that surrounded me. I wanted to be talented like them, and I wanted to be on a team with them. When I ended up just making the cut, I was thrilled. I spent the majority of my first season sitting and watching, examining how the experienced girls swung by pushing and controlling the ball with power. When I played, I imitated what I saw, slowly learning how to keep the ball in play and take control of my racket.

I remember how, after one hard swing, the strings of that racket burst open. And I remember how good that felt. 

The second time I cried, we had just played a skilled team—one like us. I was now in my third year on the team and on the starting lineup, playing second doubles. Our pairs were just about equally matched, resulting in long games, a close point climb, a third set, and a tie breaker—which we lost. Me and my doubles partner, Shannon, were beat down from the sun, frustrated, and defeated. I couldn’t help but cry when I got in the car to go home—we had lost something we wanted and worked hard for. And yet the next day I showed up to tennis practice feeling eager to play and motivated to get better. 

In a strange way, crying is a part of what defines my dedication to tennis—to anything I’m dedicated to. My upset about the sport was a sign to myself that I wanted to stick with it and improve; it showed that I cared. Now that I have stuck with the team for several years, I couldn’t imagine not having tried out in the first place. The feeling of returning an impossible shot and the sound the ball makes as it hits the strings, the cool breeze amidst the hot sun, the snack breaks (and the chat breaks), the long bus rides, and the tough matches where we all huddle to cheer on the last person playing—all of this defines my spring. Tennis is important to me. It wasn’t something I was always good at, but this makes it more meaningful to me. Regardless of if I have a natural talent for it, it makes me happy. To be on a team with hardworking people and to actively work to get better at something is such a valuable experience. 

I will always be glad I tried out for tennis, and I will always be glad I cared enough to cry over it. Going into my senior year of highschool, there will be a lot of lasts for me. I will get driven to school for the last time, I will see a lot of my teachers and peers for the last time, and I will cry about tennis for the last time. When I eventually look back on all of it, the good and the bad will blend, leaving only fun experiences and lessons learned. So I guess I’m not afraid to cry again—it’ll pay off eventually.

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About the Contributor
Lila Tallagnon
Lila Tallagnon, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Hello! I’m Lila, and I’m a junior at South High. I’m the Arts and Entertainment editor of the Colonel Chronicle, and I often write pieces for the paper myself! I am fascinated by journalism because of its ability to educate and inspire communities. Along with the paper, I’m also a part of the marching band and a cappella club. Outside of school, I play piano and sing with a choir - I love music just as much as writing! One day I hope to pursue journalism as a career. 

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