FALMOUTH — I love tennis. I love playing tennis; I love watching tennis; I love analyzing tennis. Basically, I love everything tennis. Which is why, when I was asked four years ago to take on a coaching position for Falmouth High School girls’ tennis, I accepted. I said “yes” because I wanted to give back to the community that has given my kids and family so much. I had no idea what the word “give” would mean.

I also didn’t know that there was a winning streak involved – a 125-game streak at that point. By the time the team reached the Class A South girls’ final June 6, it was a 187-game streak, including 11 state championships. We were defeated that day, for the first time in over 11 years, yet I have to agree with team captain Maddy Joyce that “just because it didn’t go the way we wanted doesn’t mean it wasn’t a successful season.”

When I accepted the Falmouth position, I knew only that I had the greatest opportunity to coach high school girls in the game I love. A game that encompasses a little bit of everything they were learning: geometry, physics, anatomy, kinesiology, science, psychology and more. A game that, unlike other high school sports, is actually two different games – singles and doubles. And a game that has a lot of life lessons to be learned.

You see, what I’ve learned about coaching is that it’s not only about what I can teach and give to the girls, it’s also about the gift that I receive in return. My girls (as I often refer to them) are my gift. Every season we create a family – one that is kind, caring, loving and supportive; one that is fun to be around, where we sing and dance and do silly things; one where we can cry and laugh at the same time. We spend a lot of time together in a short period of time: 1½ hours of conditioning after school and 1½ hours of court time per day during the preseason; six days of fun in Florida during April vacation, when training seemed to be 24/7, and countless hours during the season, on and off the court.

Yes, I mentor and coach them, but they allow me to be a part of their world through their eyes; they teach and coach me every day to see things differently. I always thank the parents for letting me share their daughters lives for a short period of time, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I love my girls, and I’m not afraid to tell them that – that’s something everyone needs to hear when it’s true. I hope that they always dance and sing and be silly – and I hope that maybe one day they will be inspired to be a coach as well.

If I have done the math correctly, my seniors were in kindergarten when the winning streak began; when put in that perspective, that’s a long time. However, my girls as seniors could only possibly add 12 regular-season matches plus four postseason matches per year to that result, which is a total of 64. They added 62, which is almost half again where we started, and that’s impressive. I am proud – proud of all the girls before them as well who helped the team extend its winning streak to the fifth longest in the nation (according to the Press Herald, citing the National Federation of High Schools website). The number 187 will forever be a memory in our minds – one that should be loud and proud.

The Falmouth girls’ tennis winning streak is now at zero. Zero in tennis is called “love” – and love is what it’s all about.

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