Senior Tripp Johnson will author a blog throughout the week leading up to the annual Army-Navy Star Match on Saturday, April 9. The Black Knights host Navy at Lichtenberg Tennis Center at 1 p.m. Johnson is the lone senior on Army's 2011 roster and hails from Hickory, N.C.
Army-Navy Week: Wednesday
Waking up for a haircut inspection at 0630 is one thing, but morning practices are an entirely different beast. Today I woke up at 0515 to go meet Kush for a morning practice. Our morning practices are normally optional but today Kush had a trip to Rutgers for one of his higher level Russian classes and thus was going to miss our normal 1530 practice time. We went up to the center, grooved our groundstrokes and volleys before we finished with hitting a hopper of serves each. Waking up the extra hour or so early isn't the hard part; it's getting through the rest of the morning without falling asleep in class. Today I had Military History, Game Theory, and International Economics before joining the team at the mess hall for lunch. I had to laugh as I approached the table when the topic of conversation was Donald "DV" Van Velzer's new buzz cut. I figured we'd leave the discussion of the latest hair styles to the women's team but then again I might just be jealous - I don't have many options as my hair seems to be waning.
After a quick meal of grilled chicken and penne pesto with the team it was up to Kimsey with Alex "Big Country" Holland for a lower body lift. Once we finished working out we headed up to the Lichtenberg Tennis Center for practice, only to run into Coach Poling who told us practice would be outdoors. The weather around these parts wasn't exactly optimal as we practiced through light rain and moderate to heavy winds, but this is exactly why we need to be outdoors. As our record (of late) reflects, we are a very good team indoors, however we have been tested little outdoors this year. The upcoming match against Navy will be played outdoors, weather permitting, and, if I had to guess, Saturday's weather will be just good enough to play outdoors and just bad enough for most people to wish we weren't.
I was surprised at how well everyone was hitting the ball today given the conditions but Coach and I continued to drive home the point that we must learn to thrive under adverse circumstances. With all the pressure and expectations we have going into the match against Navy we must be focused only on the things we have control over and weather is clearly not one of them.
Once we finished practice we did a few "Turkey Trots" or ran the lines on the tennis court before the team went up for a workout at Kimsey. It's funny how quickly we transitioned from working hard as a team to figuring out a more precise plan of attack for practice in order to peak for the next two weeks. Andrew Clark and Chad Llewellyn played vital roles in practice today as we were without Coach Rowley and they shouldered the responsibilities with ease. Hopefully tomorrow will bring clear skies and we will get to practice outdoors but now I must turn my attention to mountain of schoolwork I have procrastinated on throughout the rest of tennis season.
Thanks again to everyone who supports the Army Team and you can follow for the latest updates on Twitter @armymenstennis or my personal page @TJohnson1988.
As always, GO ARMY! SINK NAVY!