He did it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Caleb had been looking forward to the Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships since, well, last year's tournament ended. lol  I kid you not.  He had talked about it regularly throughout the year.  He was really looking forward to playing well and finishing strong, and that he did.

As I mentioned in my last post, he had an early start time on Saturday.  So he left with Patrick while I hung back with the girls.  Havi had a fever throughout the night.  So I wasn't even sure I would be heading over.  But her fever broke.  So we all hopped in the car and made the drive.  

For the 10 and under division, the format was short sets using green dot balls and a modified compass draw, which insures that each player will get 4-5 matches regardless of whether they win or lose. The goal is obviously to continue winning and stay in the main draw (the East).  And that he did!  

He won is first match against a strong, young player from South Florida.  This boy's older brother won the main consolation draw last year. So he knew his little brother would be good, and he was.  The girls and I arrived after the match ended.  So we hung out a bit with my sister and her family and the other players as well.

Caleb's second match was much easier than the first.  He even surprised himself with how easily it took it.  His opponent was as nice as pie.  When they shook hands at the net, he put his arm around Caleb and was genuinely happy for him.  From then on, you could find him watching Caleb's matches and cheering him on.  It was the sweetest.
(And this is what a compass draw format looks like- lots of consolation draws for each round of winners/losers, with the goal to stay East.) 
After two wins in the main draw, it was time for Caleb to play one last match on Day 1, the Quarterfinals.  He knew that this would be a tough match.  His opponent was a very strong green dot player.  Nerves got the best of him, and he dropped the first set.  But he pulled it together in the second and took it handedly.  Then he took that confidence right into the third set tiebreaker and pulled off a win!  I have seen Caleb pretty happy at the net after winning matches, but I have never seen scream with such joy as he did after winning that quarterfinal.  It made my heart swell.  And another tennis dad that we are friends with was several courts over watching his daughter and immediately texted me (he was THAT loud) "Heart always....pulls through".  And it's so true.  Caleb poured every ounce of himself into that match and found a way to come back and win it.  We were so proud of him.

As I mentioned in my last post, that night we headed back to our neck of the woods for Madeline's dance recital.  The next morning, we all drove over to the tournament together.  We had gotten word from another family that Caleb's Semi-final opponent was known for cheating.  And well, Caleb learned that first hand.  Ugh.  I hate cheaters.  Caleb did a good job getting an official after the first bad call.  But unfortunately, the boy made bad calls during both sets on "pressure points" and that took momentum away from Caleb.  He fought hard, and the sets were tight, but he couldn't overcome the bad calls.

The good news is that he still had one match left- a playoff match between both players that lost their Semi-final match.  Caleb, again, had to play a tough, young player from South Florida.  One of the boys he regularly plays with/against in Central Florida, played this boy on Day 1 and gave Caleb some good advice.  Nerves were a bit of a factor, and Caleb found himself down in the first set.  But he clawed his way back and took the first set in a tiebreaker!  He found himself down in the second set also, but he finally managed to wear this boy down and took the second set also.  That last win meant he took third place in the whole tournament (out of 32 players!)

One of Caleb's tennis friends (and his cousin Josh) came over to the tournament desk to watch Caleb receive his trophy, which is glass!
His opponent's dad shook his hand and congratulated him.
These cousins shots crack me up. Josh adores Caleb.
Although you can't see it in the shot below, the tournament desk let Caleb write his name and score for his 3rd/4th place playoff win.  So that is what he's pointing to. We are so proud of him.  He was the only "non-South Florida" player to make it to the Semi-final round. 
After we got home, the kids had some gifts to open.  We got Madeline a little marker maker kit to celebrate her dance recital.
Can you tell who was also a wee bit excited?! lol
Then Caleb opened up his gift- a painting that Bammy did of him playing tennis.  It was promptly hung up in his room near his trophies.  He just loves it.  Thank you, Bammy! 

We are so proud of him.  While he would have loved to play in the finals, he was hoping to at least make it to the semi-finals of the main draw.  Not only did he successfully do that, but he also won the playoff match and took third overall.  The gal who gave him his trophy commented to me that day that she still remembered the first tournament he played at that facility.  She helped to run it.  She told me should couldn't believe how much he has improved since then.  I told her that, at that point, he had only been playing tennis for about 6 weeks.  That's it!  He's made so much progress in his game in less than two years.  That just goes to show you how hard he trains every day.  His determination and work ethic are second to none.

Caleb, we love you and are so proud of you.  Keep aiming high, precious son!

And I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to our precious peanut Havi.  Today marks two years since we met her in Taiyuan.  Happy Forever Family Day, Hav!  Love you girl!

3 comments:

June K 6/17/2015  

Congratulations, Caleb.

B Wilson 6/17/2015  

wow - way to go Caleb!! Unreal.....you are such a champion!
Glad you like the picture I painted!!!
And two years for Havi...wonderful.
Sending lots of love
Bammy

docjim505 6/25/2015  

Congratulations to your son.

And I'm very glad to know that sportsmanship is alive and well.

About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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