Written by Lexi Baysinger. Media by Logan Nelson.
The women’s tennis team at Greenville College (GC) is most known for its exciting trip they take during Spring Break to Hilton Head, SC. Sadly, that is just a small part of what the team does during their season. The tennis team has the unique opportunity to witness to their opponents in a more personal way than most sports teams, according to coach Pam Craig. Tennis is a sport that anyone can play at any age; it is one of the few sports that people can take with them throughout life. The GC tennis team even hosts a Homecoming tournament for alumni and current players.
When asked what they most looked forward to this year, many of the current women’s team responded that they were excited for the chance at new relationships and team bonding. From singing on the people mover to riding their bikes around the island during Spring Break, the team spends a lot of time together. Since tennis is less of a team sport, it means that relationships can grow because there is less immediate competition in between teammates. The team is more focused on individual skill and helping each other improve. This is exemplified by the team’s implementation of something they call “Secret Sister.” The idea behind it is that each woman picks a name from the hat and the name that they pull will be the recipient of random gifts and acts of encouragement throughout the season. This allows people to feel like they are part of a community that cares about them. It also gives the team another way to connect with each other. As someone who has experienced the secret sister model, I have to say that the tennis team at GC does give some of the best gifts. They are often really well thought out and mean something to the person that they are given to. Since tennis is such a select sport, with only nine people at the most getting to play in any given match, the secret sisters help keep the team connected.
But the most important thing, especially being a Christian college and Christian team, is the sharing of the Gospel. Since tennis is broken up so much between points, it gives players an added opportunity to talk to their opponents and create relationships with them. On these turnovers, the women take advantage and start small conversations about anything at all, a lot of the time it’s us complaining to each other about the weather. But as the match wears on, personalities are revealed. Tennis has the tendency to do that to people, and players can make the decision to take the conversation further than how tired or hungry each of them are. The witness in tennis is not just these conversations though. It is seen in the way that the GC team conducts themselves during the play. Our team, in the one and a half years that I’ve been here, has some of the most level-headed players that I’ve ever been blessed with the chance to play with. That level-headedness speaks wonders to the players because tennis can bring out the worst in people. At GC, we play not only to serve God and show others Him, but simply because we love the sport. So if you’re interested in seeing a sport that you may not currently understand work for the glory of God, come and check out the women’s tennis team.
Greenville College Women’s Tennis Website: http://www.greenville.edu/athletics/womens/tennis/index.html?page=home
Pictures from a recent practice. Click here for more pictures. All pictures taken by Logan Nelson.