ONE LAST RIDE

Written by Ajay Mahenthiran
7/29/2020

Sweat dripping down my face. Bone-chilling weather. Packed stands. This was the atmosphere of our semi-state match last year against Homestead and one of my favorite memories from my high school tennis career. We were down 0-2 after losing both doubles and the pressure was on singles. Maurquis dropped the first set and Homestead was looking like the favorite to reach the state finals. I was able to play a solid match and come out with a win at 2 singles over a very strong opponent. Next, Maurquis was able to turn it around and win the second set and carry his momentum into the third. Before I knew it, the match was tied at 2-2 and we were watching Ian find a break in his third set to go up 5-2. We were all excited and saw the state finals in reach. However, Homestead’s #1 Daniel Gilbert was not going down without a fight and soon was back on serve down 4-5. Ian fought back to eventually clinch a match point that would send us to the finals and our whole team swarmed the court to embrace him.

 
 

These are the types of memories that North Central Men’s Tennis have given me and that I will remember for the rest of my life. All of the little team things we do whether that be yelling “Thersday” while warming up or huddling in our pregame circle before matches are rituals that I will cherish from NCMT. While I understand that times may be different this year because of Covid-19, I believe tennis is a sport that should be allowed to continue as it is very socially distanced and has been classified by medical professionals as a low-risk activity. It can also be played in accordance with CDC guidelines as there have already been professional tennis tournaments occurring worldwide amidst the pandemic.

 
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I have been looking forward to my senior tennis season my entire high school career. I have played 2 and 3 singles the last three years for North Central and was looking forward to holding the honor of playing 1 singles this year. It is our senior season and it quite frankly, is one that cannot be replaced. I was looking forward to being a captain and leading the team this season. I know how much my senior friends would have also loved to have a senior season this year, playing alongside each other for the last time. Not only that, but this year, in addition to having a chance at the team state championship, I would have also had the chance to go far in the individual state tournament. I have been preparing for this chance for my entire junior career in tennis, and finally feel that I am in a place to go for it all. I hope the school board is willing to change their stance on the suspension of our tennis season because it has been demonstrated that it is a sport that can be played safely while following protocols to mitigate the risks of Covid-19.


Having a last season would mean everything to me. The last three years in a row we have been defeated by Carmel, and I have an intense personal desire to lead NC back to a state championship before my high school career is over. North Central Men's Tennis was not only the first place where I felt comfortable moving to a new high school, but it has also given me lifelong friends, taught me how to be mature on and off the court, and given me a sense of identity in being the best representation of our team that I can possibly be. Please give this team one last ride before we conclude our NCMT journey.

Thank you for your time,

Ajay Mahenthiran

 
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