If you’re an athlete, then you have probably experienced pregame jitters. People tend to compensate for that by concocting their own routine rituals. Some need their hair to be braided a specific way, while another may need to listen to specific music in order to shut out the world around them and to focus on the task at hand.
Sophomore Aidan Delgado on the men’s tennis team commented by saying, “Concordia has always been a challenge for us.” The tennis team knew that the match was not going to be easy. However, when it came to game time, they were ready. The Vikings outperformed the other team in doubles. Playing singles, however, showed to be more of a challenge. Last year, the Vikings lost to Concordia due to their performance in singles, so the pressure was on. Sophomore Connor Maloney talked about how close his singles match was. He said he was down triple set point in the second tie breaker—meaning one more point from his opponent and they would have won. Luckily, Maloney was able to maintain his composure and ended up winning 13-11 in the second set tie breaker. How did Maloney come out on top? What does it take in order to win a match in which both players exhibit around the same skill level? Maloney commented by saying, “Mental stability is a major component of the game. If you don’t have a steady mindset, you are going to lose.” It turned out to be a very close game, but in the end, the Vikings managed to pull through for the win. The final score was 5-4. It is in those tight situations, like what Maloney was in, where he was behind, but was able to pull through, which makes all the difference. If he were to crack under the pressure, or any of his teammates for that matter, then the outcome would have been completely different. Have you ever heard of the saying, “You are only as good as your weakest link”? That is why so many athletes strive to improve and push each other as well as themselves. That is the reason why there are sports, because people get compared and some are then ranked higher than others. That goes to show why every athlete on a team is important and why you should always try to improve and push yourself to become even better than you thought you could. Switching gears a bit, I asked Maloney and Delgado why they played tennis. I think that is an important question to ask in order to find where athletes passions stem from. Delgado responded by saying, “I do it because it’s always been a way for me to escape the real world for a couple of hours and give some time to relax.” Maloney then responded by saying, “I began playing tennis because there was a country club close by and it was something for me to do to be active as a kid. I love playing because no matter who you play, it is a challenge. I love the fight and the feeling of winning after such a struggle; it is icing on the cake”. Passion can derive from anywhere. It is a strong ambition in which cannot be stopped. Sports are where this passion can be released. It gives people purpose and fulfills their innermost needs of accomplishment. Fed under mouths of disapproval, the athlete beckons until they are finally satisfied.