Swinging into a new season


Vicky Zhang

Vicky Zhang prepares to send the ball flying through the court as she practices for her matches.

Feet planted, heart pumping, Vicky Zhang swings, hitting the ball across the court. A new season of tennis has begun.

March of 2020 saw not only school closures, but also sports seasons cut short and practices cancelled. But on Friday of Feb. 19, the California Department of Public Health allowed for high school no-contact sports including tennis to resume.

The loss of school sports not only impacted students ability to see their friends at practice, but had an overarching impact on athletes mental health across the country. Sports were an outlet for emotions and stress and taking it away had an impact on students.

“I couldn’t actually physically go to the courts but we have a mini tennis net,” sophomore Sarah Clarke said. “It’s definitely a different mindset/routine you have during these times.”

In addition to the mental affect caused by the loss of sports, students missed out on practices, causing a rough start to the season.

“Over the pandemic, most tennis courts and clinics were closed so I was not able to practice a lot,” said Junior Vicky Zhang. “However, there were a couple of courts that were not closed so I was able to hit with friends and I began footwork training at a public park, which improved my movement on the court.”

High school sports provides a unique outlet for students to work away stress whilst having a fun experience with friends, and the pandemic is preventing many from experiencing that.

“I missed the team environment and how all the teammates would cheer me on during a match,” Zhang said.

The tennis team at SM has been playing since the end of Feb. and has had games against two schools and six matches.