Wimbledon and back again

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Sports  |  House: Booksie Classic
To be continued!! This is an autobiographical piece of my junior wimbledon experience. Although conveyed in an elaborated manner, the content is non-fictional! I really did get the chance to play junior wimbledon when I was 13. Any feed back would be brilliant :)

Submitted: October 29, 2011

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Submitted: October 29, 2011

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I felt sick. Completely gripped with anxiety and adrenaline I sat rigid in my chair at the game break.  A set and five four up; I sighed, I was very nearly there. My limbs tingled with tension and my heart thumped away like a well oiled machine, apparently trying to escape the confinement of my chest, but more likely the tennis court in which I had so far given three hours of my life to. I’d never been so scared in my life; spectators were cheering. Cheering for me! I looked around me and blocked out the noise and the irrelevant and found what I was looking for. My parent’s eyes reflected back at me from the guest balcony, smiling, bursting with pride and anxiety! I’m not sure who was more nervous; them or me? “Rather them up there than me”, I thought. I’d pick playing over watching any day of the week, at least I could wield the racket, at least then I could write my own future rather than looking on with the game out of my hands. Time felt like it had stopped. Maybe it had stopped to watch court one where I sat and literally shook with pulsing apprehension, anticipating the future I had yet to write in this match. I broke eye contact with my authors and glanced towards my opponent. She looked pale and uneasy, her auburn hair slickly entwined with sweat flicked out every-which-way and her slumped body language suggested the onset of fatigue, even exhaustion as she sipped nervously from her drinks bottle. Perhaps she’d given up and I’d won the mental duel. I sat and considered my opposing force for a moment, wondering just what she’d been through to get here, on the greatest tennis stage in the world; Wimbledon. Who was I to take away her dreams and ambitions that undoubtedly matched my own? I reflected those dreams; painfully burning and twisting, not to be content with second place, always driving you for one more point or to keep putting one foot in front of the other when you’ve given almost everything and feel like crying. After all, why do they keep the score if winning isn’t important? Even my thirteen year old self believed that. Winning is everything; it defines you. No one remembers second place. I pushed my merciful thoughts for my opponent away; I was never going to give up my Wimbledon dream.
  The sound of the umpire’s voice dragged me back to reality as she declared “time”. My opponent must have jumped at the interjection of the umpire’s voice as her water bottle was sent flying towards where I sat and rolled to a stop near my bag besides me. I gathered up my energy and stood carefully, willing my tired legs to please, please not fail me now. As I did so the crowd’s steady hum intensified and evolved into outbursts of excitement and support, clearly aware of how close I now was to winning. Their faces seemed to mould into an elaborate painting of block colour as I could pick out no one in particular. An immense mass of expectation gravitated towards me now, yet in that moment I had never felt so alone, mentally. I pushed these thoughts and the sounds away and set my emotionless poker-face back in place; a well practiced critical façade for the mental battle still raging between us. In this time she had risen from her chair and appeared in front of me to retrieve her bottle. It was all up to me now. I caught her eye for just a second; she looked as if she might cry, scampering back to her new side of the tennis court. I quietly worked my way to mine, preparing to serve, preparing to win. These are the moments I would remember, I thought. These are the moments that will live on with me for always. My opponent appeared to be ready on the other side of the court now and the crowd fell respectfully silent as I retrieved a ball to serve. I took a deep breath and did as I had done millions of times in my life before, threw the ball up to serve. These are the moments that will live on.
  For reasons still unknown to me, I smacked my serve into the net. Two points in a row. My opponent portrayed a puzzled look down towards me as these were the first real errors I had made on my serve all match. Why suddenly now? I shrugged it off and tried to relax as now, at 0-30, I had to serve again. So, I threw the ball up, hit it; net. Oh God. Come on. Second serve. Threw the ball up, hit it with the frame of the racket, ball plops over the other side; opponent hits the ball out of my reach. 0-40. As you might imagine, right now I’m starting to panic as words floated around my head such as “bottling it”, as my coach would say. I couldn’t really lose this lead could I? Not when I was so confident of the win. My head seemed to be expanding and a horrible, overwhelming nauseous feeling swam through me at the thought of losing now. I wondered how many times in my life I’d practiced serving, and the answer, as if sent by my watchful parents, found me; too many times for it to fail you now.
 
‘96mph’ the speedometer said. I stood panting, hands on hips staring after my serve. “Try again,” My coach carelessly lobbed another ball at me, “we’re not leaving til’ you reach 100mph.”
I caught the ball, barely, and set up another serve; 89mph.
“Again.”
Another ball: another serve.
72mph.
“No. Please at least try
Ball, serve, hit;
80mph.
Almost a thousand serves on since the start of my session and my arm throbbed intensely. My coach shook his head disapprovingly, and started towards the exit.
“I’ll leave you to it.”
I stared after him, scowling.


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