The Tennis Trials

New school, new friends, new sport; what better way to jump into the ever-changing world of Highschool?

October 25, 2021

Everyone here at San Dimas High has a different story to tell, especially when it comes to how they faced this new world left behind by the pandemic. Some changed their ways, lost connections, or became a new person entirely. A freshman named Lauren Castillo decided the only way to adapt to her new environment was to try tennis.

 Being new on campus is already a heavy burden but joining an unfamiliar sport for the first time seemed like the right way to approach the situation. Castillo’s mother originally came up with the idea for her daughter to connect with the school and make new friends by joining the tennis team. Naturally, Castillo objected to her mother’s decision but ended up reluctantly joining the team. “It was a little nerve recking I’m not gonna lie,” Castillo said. She had never picked up a racket before, and now she was joining the JV tennis team.

When the time came to meet her teammates, Castillo became quiet and shy, nerves blocking her otherwise bubbly personality. Over time her appreciation for her team grew as they practiced together. 

I like it because it is a team sport and I made friends,” Castillo answered when asked about her teammates, “I’m friends with everyone on the JV team, and I feel accepted.”

With her new friends on her side supplying support and sharing a similar passion for the sport, Castillo finally felt one with the team. That security of having people to fall back on when games get tough or honing her skill provided comfort and took some of the pressure off her shoulders.

When she stepped out onto the court for her first game, Castillo knew she had all the tools she needed to win. Supportive teammates to share the pressure, a newfound passion, acting as her driving force, and enough experience with the racquet to boost her confidence to overtake any remaining nerves. “I was focused and calm,” Castillo recalls, “I tried not to think of anything and have a blank canvas in my mind, so I’m focused on the game ahead.” The game was on, and Castillo’s mental strategy led her to victory. Only letting exciting bursts of color fly across her canvas further motivated Castillo to win. Each shot she sent over that the opposing team failed to return added to her excitement.

“It makes me feel proud of myself, especially since I’m still new to tennis,” she smiled after sharing the memory of her first game.”

When asked about her decision to join tennis, Castillo felt like she made the right choice on joining the team even though it was her first year at high school. “It made me feel more focused and organized,” Castillo says. By learning to manage her time between practices and schoolwork and getting more involved with the school, Castillo finally started to feel comfortable and accepted in her new environment. Tennis was the door that opened many doors. She became more involved with the school by joining clubs and continuing her athletic career.

After talking about her experience on the courts, her journey from then to now, and how it affected her, Castillo confessed that she had no regrets, about committing to something this big. She looked up with a smile and said without hesitation, “No, I enjoy playing it, and even though it is time-consuming, it is worth it.” Her commitment to the sport and her team stands proud as she answered the question regarding her decision and if she had the choice to do it all over again; “Yes, I would.”

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