In the state finals everybody has a chair line judge, a referee for their court. My referee was a man. It was not the lady who made the “get up” rule up, Lynda Hinshaw. Concannon is serving at 3-3 and it’s a long deuce game. Back and forth. He wins a point, I win a point. I finally hit a backhand down the line, return winner for a break. Finally, game over. Moved forward, smacked it, fist pump towards all my friends and fans and kept running to the changeover. (0 issue, something I’d done my whole life, watched others do before me, and have watched others do since me). Out of the corner of my eye I see Lynda walking from the other court she was judging onto my court with a smirk on her face. I’m telling my assistant coach, Jami Clark, that it’s about to go down and he didn’t even know what I meant because nothing happened yet. Then bam, Lynda’s on the court telling my referee, my coaches, and I to give me a code violation. A code violation takes a point away from me, next being a game, and if again, the match. Any more slips ups and I have no chance. For something I didn’t do. In the biggest moment of my life, and right when I took control of the match. Since I got a warning against Ian, this is now a point penalty. I lost it.
What happened in the minutes after that is a blur, I just remember asking if I could leave the court, and go to the bathroom, feeling like I just had to get out of there for a bit, not believing what had just happened. I walk to the bathroom and a friend, Parker Reist, meets me in there trying to keep me sane because there is steam literally coming off of me. That was my worst decision yet. I walk back on the court and the amount of people seemed like it went from 200 to 20,000 and at one moment it just seemed “what have i done. Half of these people watching barely know tennis and think I’m a lunatic and don’t know what actually happened.” So now I’m finally explaining it. I couldn’t play with any fire again and couldn’t make a fool out of myself again so I wanted off that court as fast as I could before something else went even worse. I felt I let JJ and Turkey down. I let JT down. I let my brother Ryan down. I still tried to win, but I couldn’t play tennis the way I had played all season, there was no fun, and almost no chance to win for me playing with no emotion. I go on to lose the match 7-6 6-1.
The worst part is. I didn’t even do whatever the rule they implemented was. If I thought I might have even done it I wouldn’t still think about it every single day. I made sure my celebration was within the new rules and even still I got in trouble. When I did it against Ian in the 1st match, I admitted to it. I did it. This one, I will never admit, because I never did it, and I will never get over it, because I never did it. I’m sure there’s tape somewhere from that match and I’m dying for someone to pull it out.
Most high-level tennis players know high school tennis is not the most important level in tennis and for a lot of the top players it is almost a joke. In Indiana though high school sports is the pinnacle. I also hadn’t competed in a full tournament for 3 years since my elbow surgery. How my elbow healed during that season is still somewhat of a mystery. So for me, winning state was my last shot at having a great achievement and going to a college that I would feel I accomplished something going to. When I was 14 I had the Texas and TCU head coaches watching a couple matches of mine, not saying I would’ve gone there, but to give you an idea of where my level was at only a few years before the season. I ended up getting 1 email back from over 100 division 1 schools, and it was IUPUI and Dr Brandon Currie who I am forever thankful for giving me that opportunity. But with no disrespect, I believe I could’ve played there when I was 13. I played there for a year and tried to transfer out. When I went back to schools such as Texas and TCU to try to walk on after beating multiple BIG-10 players my freshman year, they asked why I should be able to make the jump to that school coming from IUPUI. Why I tell you this, because this match, in my head, changed my life.
Since then Lynda has become somewhat of a meme for everybody who knows her. When I see her I just try to kill her with kindness and to this day no words have been spoken since the Final about that day between me and her.
I didn’t write this as a pity party but I wanted everybody to see that day through my lens. I wanted y’all to know what actually happened on that day and the effect it had on my years after that. I have thought about it every d*** day, and am hoping by writing this I will get some kind of solace and begin to move on. Some of y’all might’ve known this, some might think you knew, and some didn’t know it happened but now you know exactly how it went. Even though that day didn’t go my way, nobody can take away the team ring that I and my team deserved.