Nov. 5, 2010
We're in the final weeks of our fall season and that means just one thing...we're in serious grind mode! The UCLA women's tennis team just got through midterms with hopefully some decent grades to show for all the "studying". Just kidding, most of our team made the Honor Roll last quarter so we're pretty impressive both on court and off.
Since Halloween was just recently I got to thinking that our team, and perhaps the entire athletic department, should seriously consider having some kind of costume competition. I mean, I think everyone can agree that Halloween is not just for little kids. Just last year, in fact, one of the members of the men's team was in an exceptionally festive mood and decided to show up to practice on Halloween in full costume (which just so happened to be a very revealing and tight tennis dress). Good times. But if the tradition didn't start then, I guess it never will.
Our most recent tournament was the ITA Regionals in San Diego and we came away with a solid finish. Two players, senior Andrea Remynse and freshman Courtney Dolehide, made it to the semifinals, while sophomore Pamela Montez reached the quarters. However, due to an unlucky draw, half of our team ended up knocking each other out of the tournament instead of beating up on other team's players. It's always extremely awkward to play a teammate in a tournament, especially at a big event like the Regionals. Regardless of the tension that those few matches caused, the team is still on the same page training-wise and is currently not out to kill each other. Everyone is just focused on preparing for the last tournament of the fall in Palm Desert.
Team bonding is still one of our major priorities and no amount of inner team competition can slow us down. One part of traveling during the fall is going on long, traffic-filled car rides together. We get to have deep philosophical debates, fight over the music, and argue over who got us lost (I always blame the GPS). But besides that, the rides are great chance to get to know each other even better in very tight quarters.
In addition to bonding, another positive factor in our preparation for the 2011 season has been the work of Jeff Troesch, our mental training coach. We get the privilege of having him around every few weeks for team and individual meetings. It is days like that when we really realize the resources available to us as student-athletes here at UCLA. In addition to the private mental training we also have many other resources available, including nutritionists, physical therapists, fitness trainers and of course our coaches. Then there's all the Bruin gear, tennis equipment, and the never-ending Muscle Milk fridge and Gatorade machines. Plus the athlete backpacks are a huge perk. Believe it or not, they were actually one of the factors in my choosing UCLA. We're fortunate to wear UCLA on our shirts everyday and it's important to realize that it's a privilege to be a part of this environment and a complete honor to have every available resource at our fingertips.
Now that we're nearing the end of the fall season it seems like dual matches are really just around the corner. Our first match is January 19th against Saint Mary's but before that we have one final individual tournament in January split between two sites (Las Vegas and Palm Desert). UCLA women's tennis is grinding through these final weeks and looking forward to a one-of-a-kind team Thanksgiving feast that I'll tell you all about if it actually goes down as planned.