Freshman Annie McCarthy
May 15, 2008
In the final edition of the 2008 women's tennis blog, freshman Annie McCarthy wraps up the tremendous turnaround season and talks about the trip to the NCAA Tournament.
As I sit here at home on my bed that is at least two times the size of my dorm bed, I find myself ridden with boredom. It turns out that the rest and relaxation I was so looking forward to, got a little old after a few hours. Now I find myself counting down the days until I get to move into my apartment and eat fudge brownies every night with Megan Fudge. Looking back I realized that this was one of the best years of my life, spent with perhaps the best team ever.
Sitting in Bloomington Airport awaiting our departure to the ATL we found ourselves excited and yet relaxed. We had finished all of our exams, and therefore had nothing to do on the trip but enjoy each other's company. Our excitement was heightened when we learned of a little thing the coaches called "incidentals". Apparently NCAA rules called for each team member to receive forty dollars, with promise of twenty more for winning, ten for losing. Although we already had incentive to beat Tennessee, that extra twenty bucks put us over the edge.
At the NCAA banquet the night before our match, we found out that the "casual" attire was a lot less casual than we thought. In our cute outfits, we were surrounded by teams in warm-ups and jeans. Our embarrassment continued when they told us to go get food from the buffet, and our entire team "sprinted" to the food--according to Michelle. After we ate round 1, Michelle decided to inform me that the shirt I was wearing made me look like a pumpkin. Offended, I ran to the buffet to heal my hurt feelings with some salad and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I passed Shivani on the way to the food and told her "Michelle just called me a fat pumpkin!" exaggerating a bit...however she took it seriously and came back to the table and immediately said to Michelle "You called Annie a fat pumpkin?" We all shared a good laugh, and Michelle continued to say pumpkin every time she looked at me.
The next day after warming up our Frisbee skills with Michelle's new Illinois Frisbee that the team had bought her, we were ready to take on Tennessee. We knew we had worked hard all year for this moment, and we were ready to leave it all out on the courts. With advice from the coaches to relax and put all the pressure on the team, we went out fighting. Even though it was my debut in the singles lineup and I thought I would be scared beyond belief, with the help of my teammates we all went out confident and loose.
We all battled our tails off and although we didn't come out with the win, we knew we had improved so much since we had last taken on Tennessee and we knew just how hard we were going to have to work next year to go even further than this year! All in all it has been an amazing season for the Illini and we are ready to work hard this summer and come back "fighting" next season!