OPINION: Tennis cut devastates players


Grief is the first word that comes to my mind when reflecting on the terrible news that my teammates and I received just a week ago.  When I nonchalantly walked into the “team meeting” fifteen minutes late, I thought my teammates were joking when they all looked at me and whispered “there’s no more tennis.”  I was absolutely shocked and dumbfounded, and honestly still am.

When Charlie Grimes sat down with me and explained that due to a lack of funds, the tennis program could no longer exist, my mind immediately shifted to a memory of one of the first conversations I had with Charlie during my freshman year. I remembered how he kindly encouraged me to work hard and do my best on the court because Malone and many others were expecting big things to come for Malone tennis.  As a freshman, I took that advice seriously and never forgot those words.

Tennis player Asia Harris is a sophomore exercise science major. (Photo courtesy of Asia Harris)

To have the same person who so strongly encouraged my role in advancing Malone tennis just a year prior now telling me that the program was coming to a complete end made me sick to my stomach.  I was extremely angry, and I am sure that any athlete can imagine why.

Initially, I took the news very personally.  I felt that, in the eyes of those who made this decision, my hard work and accomplishments were not good or significant enough for our program to be kept around, and that was hurtful.

Although we did not have the best record, I saw the potential that our team possessed, and it was upsetting to me that we were given up on before we were given the chance to prove ourselves.

The idea that my team, filled with some of my closest friends, was no longer a team anymore was also devastating. Like all teams, through competing, traveling, and experiencing wins and losses together, close bonds were formed within our team. It is difficult the grasp the fact that although we will still be friends, this bond that was shared through the sport we all love will no longer exist.

Also, a vast majority of international students make up the tennis teams, so it was concerning to me that all of these players from all over the world moved thousands of miles away from their homes to play the sport they love only to have it taken away from them in a blink of an eye.

This difficult decision has affected not only the foreign students, but all of us in many ways.  Due to this loss, a great deal of us are being forced to search for new schools where our talents can be put to use.  It is saddening that after becoming secure at one college, many of us now must go back to square one in the shoes of a high school student looking for which school to attend at the last minute.

No one comes into college to play a sport, fearful or anxious that their sport will be taken away from them halfway into their college years.  I do not think anyone should have to go through that.  It is unfair and life changing in the worst way possible.

We must recognize the fact that, although we may not understand why hardships like these occur, God has a plan for everything and He remains good even in terrible times like these. 

Continuing on about why this decision makes me angry would not be difficult at all, but the truth is that doing so will not change anything.  At the end of the day, what has been done is done, and now all we can do is move forward.

Although many find it questionable as to whether or not this cut will truly have that great of an impact on improving our school’s financial issues, the decision has been made, and we must trust that those in authority know Malone’s finances better than we do and that they made the right decision.

More importantly, we must recognize the fact that, although we may not understand why hardships like these occur, God has a plan for everything and He remains good even in terrible times like these.  Everything happens for a reason.  I can only hope that the reasons behind this decision truly are in Malone’s best interests and that no other Malone athletes have to go through such a terrible experience.

If I said that the cutting of the tennis team was no longer disappointing and saddening, I would be lying.  I do not think that this will ever be something that does not hurt our hearts a little when thought about, but above all, God promises that His plans are not meant to harm us, and He always remains good even through bad times.

Being a part of the Malone tennis team has been an incredible experience.  I love every single one of my teammates; they have truly become my best friends.  I will deeply miss all of the experiences and fun times shared together.

Asia Harris is a sophomore exercise science major.

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2 Responses to “OPINION: Tennis cut devastates players”

  1. Very eloquently stated. As Asia already knows, God’s ways are higher than ours and we simply have to trust Him. Asia and all the other tennis players my wife and I have had the privilege of knowing have been an incredible blessing for us and Lexi and Andrew who are were also on the tennis team. God never promises the road will be easy but He always promises His sufficiency. You all always have a place waiting for and an ear to listen if you want. We love and appreciate all of you.

    March 26, 2014 at 6:32 pm
  2. Kara Wise #

    Asia Harris, I know exactly what you are talking about. Malone cut one of their greatest biology professors and completely gutted their program two years ago. It just so happened to be in the middle of my degree as well. I was, and still am of the mindset that I am not going to attend a school, thinking I will be working towards one degree, when in reality I will be limping along hoping that certain classes will be taught by someone competent.
    I was forced to go back to the shoes of a high schooler and look for a college last minute as well. It is stressful and does not get easier with time.
    I would hope that the administrators at Malone have the colleges best interests in mind…but time and time again they prove to me that they are misguided.
    I am sorry about the tennis team, but trust me when I say God will work everything out and you will be happy somewhere else. Go somewhere that appreciates you and doesn’t go back on their word.

    March 26, 2014 at 11:37 am