Sometimes I wonder how my life would've been different....the friends I would've made, the amount of college debt I have (or wouldn't have), the awards i could have won. Then again, I think about the friends I would've never met...all because of someone's disinformation about me.
I was a pretty decent tennis player in high school....team titles, all-conference, all-county, ranked in the state, stuff like that. The natural progression was that when I hit my senior year, the college coaches would start courting me (pun intended). Yet they weren't. it baffled my already-messed-up teenage mind. They were putting some feelers out during my junior year, so where had they gone....
"why are they now talking to the other girl on my team? Yeah, I get it. She's #1 on the team. i'm #2. I know my role, but come on...there's quite a few of you coaches and only 1 of her...you're not all getting her...at least look at me too. Hey...why are you ignoring me? I mean, i know I had a minor knee injury and didn't do as well as last year by a couple matches, but I'm still worthy of a scholarship...what gives!?!? hello? hello?"
silence. nothing. college recruiting season & signing days came and went. I held out....hoping, praying....this is everything I'd worked for since I got cut from the volleyball team freshman year, walked out of the gym, headed to the tennis courts and said "can I join the team?" (they pretty much took anyone who could hold a racket due to low numbers). Everyone is choosing their colleges...it's April. I still don't know where I'm going & I still don't understand why I'm being overlooked. Schools are filling up their spots & I hastily choose a school that promises me "we don't have tennis scholarships now, but we're getting them in a couple of years. The players who stick it out will have first priority when we do." I jump at this chance despite the fact it's a pricey private school & I'm going to have to pay for all of this on my own with student loans (and a few grants here and there).
It's my junior year of college....I sat out of tennis my freshman year, overwhelmed by everything college, so now i'm on the 5-year athletic plan, but it's okay...those last 2 years are going to be covered by the tennis scholarships that are coming after this year. I'm fine. Until i'm not. My teammates and I start hearing rumors....the scholarships are going to the incoming players from high school to make the program better in their new conference. (it's no secret we suck....I think we've won 1 match, barely, in my 2 years on the team. Of course we suck, we're playing against schools that are full scholarship programs. They have better players. I got my ass smoked in 30 minutes by a girl who eventually turned pro...and I was like the 5th best player on the team which means she was too). Finally, a few of us confront the coach...yep, it's true...and it was the plan the whole time. The scholarships are going to players who will replace us. We won't be cut from the team, but we'll only play like 1 match a season. THEY LIED TO US!!! USED US!! YOU TOLD US THESE SCHOLARSHIPS WOULD BE OURS?!?! YOU BASICALLY TRICKED US INTO GOING TO SCHOOL HERE ON OUR OWN DIME!!!!
"Really? You want me to shell out all the money I pay for a private tennis coach in the offseason in hopes of being competitive (in addition to the money I'm paying to go to this school at like $20K a year), practice like 15-20 hours a week, work my ass off for like ONE damn match a year? This isn't what I signed up for. Fuck this shit. I'm out of here"
I transferred to a smaller school, a program with at least a winning record, a chance for a team title (which is what I so desired like high school) & a chance for me to be the top player on the team. Most importantly....a scholarship. The thing I had desired for so long was now mine. I never won that team title (I think the closest we came was 3rd), but I was all-conference both years I played at my new school. Now somewhere along the way, I had a conversation with a coach...I said I wish I would've gone to the smaller school all 4 (well, 5 years...would've been 4 had I gone there because I don't think i would've sat out a year). That's when I got the shocking statement and answer to the question that had baffled me since my senior year of high school.
"I tried to get you out of high school, but your high school coach told me that you weren't going to college"
Excuse me?!?! Now i'd had run-ins with the tennis coach my senior year of HS to the point my mother had to go to the athletic director and school board. (my awesome HS coach quit after my junior year and the senior coach had beef with me...she was a teacher at the school I'd conflicted with all throughout high school). This woman wouldn't go so far as to sabotage me, would she??! I couldn't believe my ears. I still to this very day think she saw the opportunity to settle her "issues" with me (and my mother for challenging her "authority") & took it. Had I been smart (and not dealing with other things in life at the time), I should've contacted a lawyer and sued. Maybe she could be paying my $60K in college loans from my 3 years that were out of pocket at the bigger private school.
On the other hand....I have 5 wonderful friends that I met while I was at the bigger school. Five wonderful friends, who I still talk to regularly, that I wouldn't have had otherwise....so at least there is that.
As for those coaches who did me wrong....oh trust me....I'm going to make it so you NEVER forget my name. What you did to me (and others), the lies you told, the distrust you created, only fuels me to be successful no matter what I do. Of course, in your eyes, the disinformation is probably what i'm saying.