They put me in the second singles slot today, and I lost. It was still a fantastic match. We were on the court for a little over two hours, and I lost tie breaks in both sets, 5-7, 5-7. It was the kind of exhausting experience I haven't had since the days I'd get on a bike and ride between 50 and 80 miles.
But it was a good experience. The dude I was playing also had never played a singles match competitively, so it was new for both of us. We were about the same age, he was slightly taller and probably in better shape than me. At the end, I don't think either one of us has much left, and yet, the tennis got better and better. The thing that I noticed was that I was so tired near the end that I don't remember doing any of the things I should. For example, serving, I don't remember the quality of my tosses, getting my left hand up, or following through. Every other serve receive, I'd stop and think, oh yeah, watch the toss and the swing.
Being exhausted in the second sense actually helped. While I wasn't giving up, I wasn't going to be sad if it ended either. That meant I stopped backing off on serves and what not and just let it rip, with some degree of success. Similarly, I'd really let it rip on every swing. I think my opponent had the same idea, and that's why the points kept getting longer.
Being honest with myself, I made mistakes, but it wasn't the same mistakes over and over. I didn't get into ruts, and I was able to adjust. That has been my biggest issue so far. At the same time, I probably should not have lost the first set. I was up 4-1, then 5-2, and had several chances to win the set after that. I got a little too confident for my own good.
While it was technically a loss, it felt like a win. We got our money's worth. I didn't feel like a stranger to the game. My team won the other four matches, so overall, it was still a win. Unfortunately, I'll miss another match this weekend, and then we have a bye. I'll only get to play four total, out of eight, since I was sick two weeks. That's a bummer.