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.
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.
[pullquote]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. [/pullquote]
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.