Living Dangerously: Mid-Atlantic Completes Three-Year Odyssey

October 29, 2010 01:35 AM
While they play tennis on one of Maryland's southernmost points, the morale of USTA Mid-Atlantic's "Team Danger" couldn't be higher.
Team Danger - whose USTA Mid-Atlantic Jr. Team Tennis program out of St. Mary's County in Maryland is just three years old - knew their dream of making their first trip to Nationals was in doubt when the schedule for sectional qualifying was released. Much to their surprise and disappointment, the tryouts for local high school sports fell on the same day.
To make matters worse, the state of Maryland requires that any child participating in fall sports must take part in the tryout process.
The team has five multi-sport athletes on its roster and each faced a difficult decision:
- Skip high school tryouts and not make the team,
- Miss sectional qualifying and a chance to attend nationals, or
- Do the unthinkable and, attempt to take it all head-on.
Team Danger stood unified as each member honored the commitment made to their teammates who have worked towards a common goal – the 2010 Jr. Team Tennis National Championships. It wouldn’t be easy, as five of the team’s players faced two days of grueling work.
"I was very impressed with their attitudes towards the entire situation. Each player faced a difficult situation, but they demonstrated a strong will to compete at the highest level," said Coach Matt Taggert. "They could have complained or argued about the situation, but they faced it head-on and didn’t shy away from their obstacles."
The journey began with the team facing its first group of sectional matches. Although the matches went well, the team understood that this was just one step in a long journey.
Immediately following the opening schedule of sectional play, the five players rushed home to partake in their respective high school tryouts. After a difficult day of soccer and cross country practices, the five players returned back the next day to finish their last two matches including the finals, where they were victorious.
When the dust settled Team Danger found itself Sectional Champs and their improbable run to Nationals was complete.
"This is a special group of kids who love to compete, love the game of tennis, and this is just one more obstacle they can overcome."