Tennis Talk with Allison Falkin: 3rd Edition

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Thumbnail image for Falkin_Allison_0368.jpgTennis Talk takes fans behind the scenes of the Fighting Illini women's tennis team. In the third edition, Allison Falkin provides an inside look at the team's winter trip to Florida, which included a dual match with Stephen F. Austin and another epic showdown between Team Dasso and Team Rose.

Yo, yo, Illini fans! Now that we're all back in the real world of Champaign-Urbana and no longer in the fantasy world of Fort Myers, Fla., I thought it would be a good time to throw out an update! So here it goes!

We recently went on a Winter Break training trip to Fort Myers. It started with a plane ride from Bloomington to Atlanta, then on to Fort Myers. I love traveling as a team because everyone stares at us. At first, I used to think it was because I was having a bad hair day, but now I realize it's because there are nine beautiful girls walking around wearing the same uniforms. The best part, though, is when people try to guess what sport we are.  We're used to the same old "soccer?", "basketball?" (which I'll never understand since more than half our team is below 5'4"),  and "swimming?"  However, this time we got something new. Someone asked us, "Are you the skating team?"  Pretty exciting, I know!

Throughout the rest of the travels, we engaged in intense card games and reading of "The Hunger Games," which our team has been passing around. We highly recommend it if you're looking for an exciting quick read, by the way!

Once we arrived, we had two days to get acclimated to the Florida weather and playing on outdoor courts before our first dual match against Stephen F. Austin University. The weather gods were nice to us, holding off the rain and letting us get in three solid practices. SFA was not expecting such a heat-and-wind tough team and was shocked when we came out ready to play! We started out with a great doubles point win, and continued on to win it, 5-2 overall!  Here we go Illini!

After our victory, we headed over to David Mills' (Millsie's) pad to go for a swim and a dip in the hot tub. It was beautiful! We also learned a valuable lesson from him called "212 degrees." Water won't do anything at 211 degrees, however, at 212, it will boil, which produces the steam that can power an engine.  This shows how much of a difference that one extra degree makes, which then can be applied to tennis. We have adopted a new team motto of, "What are you doing to push our team to 212 degrees?" Thanks a lot Millsie!

The two days after that were both intense training days, along with a 3-D viewing of the Disney Classic Beauty and the Beast. Luckily, none of our IDs had to be checked!  We also had a "mini dual match" of Team Rose (Rach, Mel, Chelc, Amy, and Mish) versus Team Dasso (Julia, Al, Misia, Bre, and Michelle). I am sad to announce that Team Rose clinched the match with Mish's three-set victory over Michelle, making the final score, 3-2.  However, Team Dasso retaliated with a win in the second challenge of the day: "The Amazing Race!" What does that consist of, you ask? Well, let me inform you!

Stage 1:  Find five tennis balls hidden along the one-mile stretch between the Coaches' House and the Players' House (Yes, we are cool enough to get two houses!). Then, do 10 Burpies (don't ask; they're death!). It was dead even between the teams!

Stage 2: Lunge to the coaches' mailbox to find the next clue. It was still dead even!

Stage 3: Find tennis ball in coaches' backyard and do 25 push-ups. Still dead even!

Stage 4:  Run back to the Players' House. This is where things got tricky.  See, our backyard consisted of a channel with a yacht in it. Team Rose tried to take a short cut, and got stuck at the channel. They were about to swim across but then determined it to be too dangerous. Meanwhile, Team Dasso went the long way and made it to the next clue!

Stage 5: Dive into the pool (which was also in our backyard) with your clothes on and each retrieve one coin from the bottom. Unfortunately, I forgot to remove my running shoes before jumping in...not my best decision ever!

Stage 6:  Sing the Alma Mater (see Facebook page for video!).

Stage 7: Team Dasso wins!

After the excitement of the week, we were all tired and headed back to Champaign.  Brrrr...Hello cold weather!  Now, come out to our match this Friday at Atkins Tennis Center, as we take on SMU at 5 p.m. CT!

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