DOWNEY – Being on a sports team is tough. When the topic of sports comes to mind, we often think of how many wins or losses a team has dealt with or how their performance has been on the field. But what happens behind the scenes?
Sure, we are able to see how well a player reacts on the field, but what about off the field? For an athlete it’s not just about strength, agility or speed, but also about motivation, dedication and mental preparation.
I decided to ask one of our very own from the Downey community, Divesh Patel, varsity tennis player at Warren High School. Patel was born and raised in Downey, and joined tennis because he said he wanted to take on a new challenge.
He says, “the most enjoyable thing about tennis is the thinking and the planning required to play the sport. Every shot must be thought of as a counter move to where the opposing player is positioned.”
Patel says tennis can be stress relieving and relaxing. He said that his last season went well, winning most of his games, and overall he improved as a player. After a few rough games his team worked hard and won League.
He says to mentally prepare himself for a game, he must “warm up, take it easy and focus on reading my opponent to learn what I can exploit.”
“Mentally I just let myself realize that what happens does not matter as long as I put all of my effort into playing my best,” he says. If he loses, Patel says he is able to bounce back by refreshing his mind, learning from his mistakes, and preparing for the next match. Patel says that since joining tennis, it has helped him grow as a person. He says the tennis community is amazing, and he often visits the park and meets others who share his same interests, and it has helped him improve his skills.
So what does it take to be a good athlete? Patel says it takes discipline, hard work, passion, and dedication. Being an honors and AP student, he says the same principle applies.
“I give both 100% of my effort, which means if I need to stay at practice longer on a certain day, then I’m staying up later finishing my homework,” he says, adding that “it’s important to know your limits, and to know what you can handle.”
Patel states that the Downey and Warren community has been so supportive, and is thankful for those who have helped him. After high school Patel plans to attend college and pursue a career in either Computer Science, Film, Biotechnology, or Inventive engineering.
One thing is for sure, he has a bright future ahead of him.
Marisa Vidal is a junior at Warren High School studying journalism
Published: Feb. 19, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 45