No Second Chances

by rachello

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.I always bounced the tennis ball too many times when I got nervous, like now.   This was the first time I had ever played first singles.  The coach moved me up yesterday when he found out the first singles player for the girls had strep throat and would not be able to play.  This was also the match that would determine if we went into the finals for high school girls.  The other girls and the coach were counting on me.

It was my turn to serve, that’s part of the reason I was so nervous.  I was better at reacting to how the other player served.  Don’t ask me why, I know it’s weird.  I just don’t like serving.  I feel too pressured.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.

I knew I had to serve soon.  I could not keep stalling.  Finally, I did.  I threw the ball up high to give me more time, and I swung when it got to my eye level, not too hard, but not too soft either.  I missed the first time, but I knew I had one more try.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.

I was even more nervous now that I had missed once before.  I threw the ball high and swung when it got to my eye level again, and miraculously I hit it.  The other player swung too late as it came to her, and the point was mine.

It was fifteen-love on the last match for this set. We were tied this set.  She had won two, and I had won two.  This match was it.  No second chances.  I looked over to the small cluster of bleachers and saw my team mates.  They had all finished their matches, I knew that already.  If I won this, our team would win.  If I did not, we would lose this match overall and not get to go to the championship this year.

I could tell they were on edge.  Tennis was a big deal at our school, and we had been in the championship every year for the past ten years.  I could not disappoint them and my coach.

Tap, tap, tap.

I was still nervous, but I knew I could do this.  You are an awesome tennis player, I kept telling myself.  I served again, and she swung too low.  The score was thirty-love now.  You can do this.

The third time I served, I missed it both times.  She got the point, thirty-fifteen.  I served again, and she lobbed it back to me.  I hit it right after it made it over the net, and we kept a volley going for a good ten minutes until she finally hit one out.  Forty-fifteen.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.

I started to serve again, hoping that it would be the last time.  I threw the ball and went through all the motions.  It was a beautiful serve, and she hit it back to me only to miss it after I returned it.  I had won the game.

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