What’s All This Racket About

The+Varsity+Tennis+team%2C+photo+by+John+O%27Leary.

The Varsity Tennis team, photo by John O’Leary.

Jillian Johnson, Journalist

Sports is one of the first things that comes to many people’s minds when thinking about something being ruined by the pandemic and OHS Girls Tennis is no exception. With the murmur of differing schedules for school and state guidelines having to come into play, there was an uncertain feeling in the air for most of the months leading up to their season. Most players were robbed of their normal start dates and some didn’t even get to finish off their last year properly. Weather was also a huge worry due to the nature of matches and practices all being outside. Safe to say, there’s been some bumps in the road for this team but the way they’ve managed to persevere through and never give up is something that should truly be recognized.

It’s been a remarkable season,” says Don Craig, Head Coach, “we’ve managed to make it work.” He has been coaching tennis for 13 years in total and this is his 11th year with the varsity team. Craig talks about how the weather has actually worked out in their favor throughout this different season and that none of their games have been rained out and “that’s pretty much unheard of.” Though they’ve had their moments where things got a bit tricky, he also says that there hasn’t been anything too bad that has really gotten in their way. Even so, he’s very proud of his team overall. “The fruit that was born from that work. They are undefeated 11-0 and the proof is in the pudding.”

One of those said dedicated players is Ella Petit, a Varsity Team Captain, who’s been playing tennis since seventh grade but only got really serious in freshman year. She mentions how hybrid has been working pretty well alongside their sports schedule and she’s had more time to focus on tennis. “It was really nice to bring normality into my life.” The only thing that seemed to complicate things that Petit saw was exactly who they were playing since they didn’t play their usual people and the games were much shorter. Like her coach though, she agrees that there hasn’t been anything major and even though it was a bit challenging to make those important connections with the team at first, they’ve really pulled through on it. She’s really happy this season happened, even if it was a different way to go about it. “It’s been a good way to say goodbye to my highschool tennis career as a senior.”

Someone that has some more years to go before she’s on her way out as well is Addie Denslow, another Varsity Team Captain. She’s in her sophomore year and since her phase with it at ten years old, she only picked it back up three years ago. This season has been a kind of difficult one in her eyes, what with practices not being as long as usual and spring break presenting more of a challenge then they all first thought. “The season got moved up right before and my partner missed five games.” She also says that everything has to be pretty flexible in order to work but they have a strong team and got through this pretty well together. Just like with her fellow players, Denslow is really excited to say that they have won their half of the league, staying undefeated throughout so far. “I’ve been so honored to be a part of this team and this is my first time officially being on varsity. This team is so sweet and a great group of girls to be with.”

Hearing about how badly this time has affected the masses has been told so many times of the year, it’s common talk by now. How schools have needed to change and rewrite the way they do things, which stores are staying closed and which have opened to only some, and even how the major athletic teams on TV are dealing with covid cases in their own groups. It’s all been drilled into the minds of everyone so it was definitely nice to hear how teams have pushed through their own personal setbacks in order to keep going. They have managed their team sportsmanship and stayed true to each other throughout the whole ordeal, all while working overtime to improve their skills. It’s been a strange time for the population as a whole but those who learn to make the most of it, get the most out of it.