Sophomore Dane Esses of the Pepperdine men's
tennis team reflects on the ups and downs of his freshman season and how his
teammates made it all worthwhile:
After a heartbreaking 4-3 loss that ended our season and concluded my freshman year, I was scrambling to figure out how I was going to spend my summer. The way I have always spent my summers and free time has revolved around my tennis schedule.
I think I can speak for everyone on the team when I say that losing in the conference finals was a very hard way to end the season. For the vast majority of the season both my teammates and I had some very good stretches on the court. It was crazy to think that after all of the good times and hard work, that one 4-3 decision ultimately determined the fate of our season.
As I took time off and spent some time with family I realized some very important things that I wanted to share. Firstly, I realized that the concept of acceptance and the ability to accept both the good and tough times is crucial in order to live a fulfilling life. Even though our season ended in a way I didn't expect, I personally could not have asked for a better first year at Pepperdine.
The focal point of that statement comes from my teammates and coaches. Through thick and thin, I truly would not pick any other combination of 12 guys to spend my first year with. Whether we won an epic dual match or lost a heart-breaking 4-3 match, that never determined how much we believed in each other or how much we supported each other. When you have teammates that are there to pick you up during the toughest of times, playing for Pepperdine is such a privilege.
I can recall a time that I lost a clinching match to lose a dual match 4-3, and the great amount of sadness that I felt. I can remember, though, in the van on our way back my teammates telling me how proud they were and that they had no doubts I would bounce back and still have a great season. That kind of brotherhood and friendship makes it easy to play with such passion and energy that the Pepperdine culture is known for.
When I reflect on these memories, it makes it easier to accept how our season ended and to move on and be stronger next year. In life, we can always say, 'I wish I would have done this, or I should have done that,' but the matter of fact is that we have to accept our situations and put our best foot forward. We can always wish we did things differently, but we must also appreciate and cherish the good times that we have. If we only think about what we should have done differently, we will never feel accomplished or have peace with ourselves. That applies to tennis and also life in general.
Overall, I realized this summer how much I missed my teammates and playing for Pepperdine. With a new mindset and sense of appreciation for all of the good memories that Pepperdine brought me during my first year, I'm more ready than ever to step on court with my teammates and work together towards achieving our goals.