WARNING: Delray Beach is getting Nietzsche at Nationals at Delray Beach International Tennis Champtionships
Delray Beach, FL— ‘Existentialism’ is as challenging to define much less to comprehend and realize. The essence in which we exist as competitors often involves intricate struggles with opposition: from ourselves, our adversaries and these elusive entities we call ‘expectation’ and ‘pressure’. In the 12-and-under division the snowball effect of these externalities can be slowed down, if not at least leveled, before the distractions of the elder 14s, 16s and 18s age brackets, such as college recruiting, sponsors, finances, etc., blurry the scope of things. When faced with these trials of self-doubt it becomes ‘easy’ to choose the path of shortcuts and deception – aka life’s CliffsNotes on ‘Morality’. In these incipient stages of competitive junior tennis, it is during these ‘moments’ that we, the tournament committee, can evidently distinguish ‘greatness’ from those who wish to be.
At the half-way point of the USTA Boys’ & Girls’ 12 National Springs Championships (April 8 - 13, 2012), the draws are getting deeper and the expectations greater. For some the baselines become thinner and the scoreboard becomes inverted. And somewhere, not exactly certain Google Maps can locate, this idea of winning has become nearly parallel with being great. During this morphology ‘sportsmanship’ becomes susceptible to being overshadowed by one’s fear of lacking greatness…or existentially speaking, arriving at the intersection of disappointment and ‘failure’.
It’s critical in these beginning stages of early competitive play that we coach sportsmanship as much if not more than we do inside-out forehands. Being a sportsman (or sportswoman) has to become the desired objective with respect to one’s identity as a tennis player. It is clear that #5 Ryan Seggerman (Coronado, CA) has interpreted success subjectively and translated it by way of high caliber and great character. Pictured above with his father, Ryan faced Day 2 “Player of the Day,” #17 Keenan Mayo (Roseville, CA) in this morning’s quarterfinal chair-umpired match at 11:15am. After losing the first set in an ever-contested battle, it appeared to some as if Mayo would spread dominion thick over the lower part of the main draw. To the umpire and all those who stood close by, Ryan never let the pressure of his USTA ranking expected win (as the 5th best player in the tournament). He offered applause and “nice shot” to his opponent when he felt deserving. There were no highs and no lows – just ‘staying-in-the-moment’ play. Second set and Ryan’s consistent disposition won his favor 6-2. Ten minute break and new balls. Seggerman approached the court with the mentality of “let’s play my game and see what happens.” Nearly thirty minutes later, Ryan would wind up the victor 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Reprinted with permission from Marlena Hall, Delray Beach ITC.
Related: Meet Ryan Seggerman - Coronado's National Tennis Champion
Update: Ryan lost in the singles final, placed third in doubles and received the Sportsmanship Award.
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