Archive for March 1st, 2009

01
Mar
09

Tampa- Final Day

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As the Cats sit in the Tampa airport on a Monday afternoon awaiting the departure of a plane that will take us into a white, snowy Maine, it is easy for everyone to reflect on the past week, maybe even easier for a coach. This trip is very important to the success of our season, and getting the most out of the players on the court was a main focus. But it wasn’t the tennis portion of the trip that will push us to achieve our highest goals. The bonding within each team and between them that occurs when 22 people live in a house together for a week is invaluable. This bonding is not like running sprints or hitting forehands, it cannot be created by a coach’s game plan.

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The relationships are shaped through long van rides to Eckerd to see the men get their first win of the season. They are formed while exploring for a Cold Stone that is miles away, only to learn it is no longer open to serve the frozen treats we desired. They are created by Elizabeth convincing everyone they should cheer for the Louisville basketball team even though most of us have never even been there. It is easy for a team to come together when almost everyone joined Reiss in the pool for his rehab, or when Sangita finds a way to beat all the guys in a game of HORSE. It was Oscar watching, study sessions, and ice cream sandwich challenges. It was pasta cooking, Publix shopping, and poolside tanning. It was an extra warm pita at Pita’s Republic, empanadas at Cuban Breezes, and a long late night breakfast at Denny’s. Lastly, it happens while putting up with having your picture taken during almost every activity.

 

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These moments not only helped bring the Cats together, but will also be what they remember about the trip for many years to come. For the freshmen, this was their first time and can look forward to the trips they have in the future. For our seniors, this experience is like nothing they will have after graduation. Fully appreciating this journey that is Bates Tennis will not be realized well after that final day in June.  The best thing about the Cats’ Tampa trip is that we have a full season ahead of us; full of surprises, long three setters, and nervous points. We have a lot of work to do to reach the goals we set before the season. Nothing will come easy for us, but that is just fine for the Cats because we are prepared to enjoy the struggle. It is going to be quite a journey, feel free to come along for the ride. 

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