February 14, 2014
Hello Tide Tennis Fans,
Another weekend in the books and how good it was to be at home. Both battles vs. the Cowboys and Sooners provided energy, excitement and opportunities. Three of my favorite components of a match. The Roberta Alison Baumgardner Indoor Facility was packed and I think a pretty good show was provided. As a team we learned a lot about ourselves as competitors, players and representatives of the University of Alabama.
First as competitors...of our 8 contests thus far this season, 5 have been against nationally ranked opponents, with 4 of those 5 being ranked in the Top 25. So we've been tested and challenged as competitors each time we've stepped foot on the court. This has been a good thing, as we have a team made up of competitors. All the guys love to be out there battling and we will sink or swim based on how we compete. From a fan's perspective, the Oklahoma State match was tight and we had our chances many times to win the doubles point. Following that epic tiebreaker at #3 doubles (14-12!), the question presented to the team was how were we going to respond? We could be deflated by the lost opportunity or be motivated to brush it aside and take it to the Cowboys in singles. Well, at the end of the day, we had numerous chances on several courts but came out on the short end of the stick. I don't think we were deflated or unmotivated but we didn't have enough grit that I've seen this team have in other situations (like Cal & San Diego). So, lesson learned and to borrow a quote from a poster in the weight room, "never again".
Time for a nice night's rest and again the question to take into the Oklahoma match...deflated or motivated? Well, this match provided a tougher opponent but our response was tremendous. We knew Oklahoma was a very talented team and logic could say talent usually wins. The Tide, however, felt that passion would trump logic and we went toe-to-toe with the opposition. Hats off to freshman Sean Donohue for coming away with a big win and putting his teammates in a position to win the match. At the end of the day, we reached our standard in terms of competing and will improve our games so that the `W' stays with the home team next time. Our record now stands at 4-4 and I believe we are in a good place as a team heading into a "bye" weekend.
Secondly as players...we will now make a hopeful shift from indoor to outdoor tennis. After the last few days I wasn't quite sure if I needed to invest in a snow shovel or just go by a bottle of sunblock to bring the warmer temps to town. The forecast for the next 7-10 days looks great...sunshine!...and I'm once again fascinated by the Alabama temperature changes. We've had high quality practices this week competing, drilling and playing intense ultimate frisbee games and will continue to build momentum going into our next event - the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. The BG, held in Montgomery, Alabama, February 21-23 is an 8-team tournament for both men and women (Bama girls will also compete) and you can read a plethora of information about the event (teams, history, interesting stories, etc) at www.bluegraytennis.com. We'll have 3 dual matches beginning Friday and ending on Sunday so I hope to see some familiar faces at the event.
Lastly, our team learned a lot about what it means to represent the University of Alabama and are still learning on a daily basis. How special it was to see the stands filled with so many Tide fans of all ages last weekend. From the ball kids on court to the parents/families to the administrators to the support/facilities staff to the longtime Bama faithful, it truly was incredible. Our Crimson Racquet Club continues to grow in membership (now at 71 members...let's get 100!) with the CRC Hospitality Room being a popular new perk for members. Remember CRC members, Brian "BC" Conlon gives his `chalk-talk' 30 minutes prior to every dual match either outside of the indoor hospitality room or in the Player's Lounge for outdoor matches. He has lots of good info to report so don't miss out on the scoop. Many thanks to Big Al and his Kids Club for coming on Saturday, as well as the Hampton Inn for providing a tasty spread of breakfast items on Sunday. Special thanks to Tommy English for donating the 40-40 Sudden Death signs that the officials held up for the critical no-ad deuce points. And finally to all of you for your passion, "ALA! BAMA!" cheers and continued support. Enjoy the holiday weekend and see you soon.