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By Ali Al Mahdawi

During a recent visit to San Pasqual to speak with the members of the Escondido Girls' Tennis team, we encountered a remarkable young athlete, 17-year-old Diana. Despite only having played tennis for one year, she's had an unforgettable season. Diana shared how committing to tennis opened doors to a new community, connecting her with a circle of friends who remained close beyond the confines of the season.

On the court, Diana described her play as "mellow," feeling relaxed when she plays, particularly when playing alongside her sister, who is also a teammate. For Diana, the camaraderie extends beyond her biological sister; she feels a kinship with the entire team, who support each other unconditionally, often feeling like a family of sisters. Her most exhilarating moment came during senior night, a playful culmination of the season, where she commemorated the event by dousing their coach with a bucket of water—a memory she cherishes and expects to hold dear well beyond her high school years.

Teammate Bella proved invaluable, offering comfort after a challenging match. Diana believes it's rare to find such deep connections outside of a supportive team environment, where everyone can express themselves freely and authentically. 


One of the most significant lessons tennis has imparted to Diana is the virtue of patience. Learning to shake off a missed serve and prepare for the next embodies an essential life skill. This lesson in patience is especially poignant for these young athletes, translating to other life events where waiting gracefully is crucial, be it for test results, college acceptance letters, or job interview outcomes. Diana's experience on the tennis court has equipped her with more than just a backhand; it has provided her with wisdom for life's broader game.

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