My tennis team from Ramona is one of eight finalists vying for a World Team Tennis national championship this weekend. Our first match is at 12:00 noon today at Indian Wells, a short drive due north of our home in the back country.
Our road to the championships is similar to the 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Near the end of their season, they appeared hopeless. We were the same way, down seven points in the first round of a qualifier tournament. Thanks to Mike (Mo) and Shelley, we ended up winning in a super tiebreaker and eventually won the tournament to get a shot at a national qualifier in Vegas.
If you watched game six of the World Series, once again you saw a Cinderella team on the edge of a knockout. They were within one strike of the end. That was just like our team in Vegas. We made it all the way to the finals and faced a formidable opponent in the championship round. It all came down to one sudden death point and our win was determined by a ball missing the line by no more than one inch.
St. Louis celebrated in front of it's hometown fans after winning game seven in a season that will be talked about for decades to come. When we play this weekend, there will be one person in the crowd who is considered one of the most influential Americans of the last century. In 1973, Billie Jean King, the co-founder of World Team Tennis, defeated Bobby Riggs, once a homeowner in my hometown of Ramona. She became a hero for the underdogs, a symbol for those seeking equality, and a legend for tennis players young and old. This weekend, Billie Jean King will be cheering for tennis players from all over the United States who are here because she dreamed big and founded a league for tennis players to share their passion for tennis.
I hope my team will get to experience the exuberance felt by those baseball players from the Midwest who beat the odds and took home the trophy. No matter the outcome this weekend, just being here is a dream come true. I promise to represent my hometown and will do my best to help bring home a national championship. Thank you, Billie Jean, for making this weekend possible. And to those who can't be with us, you will be in our hearts.