Blogging With Zafiros #2

March 23, 2010

Hey Arizona fans I’m back, but this time reporting from the great state of Alabama.  I want to tell you day by day the experience my team and I had on this trip.  To be honest with you this was one of the most amazing tournaments I have ever played in college.  My team and I were treated unbelievable and it was really special for us.  Let me start off with the first day we arrived, Tuesday March 16.  Our coaches had to drop us off at different houses because in this tournament we didn’t stay in hotels, instead we stayed with families that let us into their homes with open arms.  The set up was two guys per house, so Andres Carrasco and I stayed together with a family, Beast (Pat Metham) and Borja, Jay and Ravid, and Embry and Arango.  We really didn’t know what to expect because we never had housing before, only hotels.  When Andres and I walked toward the house we were greeted by two gorgeous girls, Mary Morgan, 7, and Ana, 4.  I have never seen bigger smiles in my life.  It was one of those special moments in time where I could tell that they have waited a long time for that day to come and it was all over their face. 

The next day the team had a good practice at the main site.  Nacho (Andres Carrasco) and I then came back to the house and got ready for a banquet that was for all 16 teams at a really nice country club.  I have to say we looked pretty good in our ties.  This was nice for the team because it was a time for us to look good and just relax for a change and enjoy a really nice dinner.  When Andres and I came back to the house we decided to play Wii with the girls.  What I want you to know is that these girls absolutely destroyed Andres and I in most of the games that we played.  I am so upset about that that I think I’m going back to Tucson and buying a Wii, so next year I am better competition for them.  After Wii we decided to dress up the dolls that the girls had.  This was a great experience haha.  Before we knew it Thursday arrived. 

We were seeded fourth in the tournament and were taking on William and Mary.  We won the doubles point, which was nice because now all we needed was three out of six singles matches.  I was the first one off the court with a 6-0 win in the third set.  My parents were able to make the trip, so I was glad they could see me play well.  They were having a great time because they don’t really get a chance to see me play anymore because they live in Florida and it’s a long trip.  Ravid and Borja were the next two wins for the Cats to seal the victory.  We fought hard and got the win 4-0.  That night we had a team dinner at Carrabbas and watched some basketball and it was amazing.  We all got to bed early because we had a big match against Tulsa the next morning. 

Against Tulsa we lost the doubles point so now we needed four out of six singles in order to pull off the win.  The match against Tulsa was something that I wish you all could have seen.  I have never experienced energy in three and a half hours like I have seen then.  We were so loud and so intense.  I was the first one off the court to tie it 1-1.  Later on Ravid battled hard and won to give another point for the Cats.  We needed two more wins and those came from the two Latinos, Andres Arango and Andres Carrasco who clinched it for the Cats. 

Their assistant coach came up to me after the match and said, “Jason you are nasty, and I love it.”  That is the coach of the other team talking.  This is what our team is known for.  We are absolute warriors out there and other coaches’ envy that because that’s what every team wishes to have.  I have never been surrounded by a group of guys who want to win more than anything in the world. 

The next day we took on the Oklahoma Sooners and fought really hard.  We lost the doubles point early, but came back fighting in singles.  I was the first one off the court with a 6-2, 6-3 win, but unfortunately the rest of the team struggled a bit and we lost 4-1.  Oklahoma played a great match and is a very solid top 20 team. 

Later that night each family that was hosting us decided to throw us a dinner party at one of their homes.  The food was unbelievable and the team and I were so grateful.  Our flight was the next morning and we were really excited to get back to Tucson because we had a long trip. 

In the morning, I got a text from coach saying, “Hang tight guys flight was canceled due to snow in Dallas.”  This was probably the last thing I wanted to hear, and I was just like too good.  What are the chances that it’s snowing in Dallas and that was the only flight?  Now the airline was telling us that the soonest we could leave was Tuesday morning at 7 a.m.  I’ve missed so much school at this point that I don’t know if I am still enrolled.  On top of all this, we are leaving Thursday for Cal so my thoughts were might as well go straight to Cal from ‘Bama.  So we called our host families and the nice people that they are said it was no problem for us to stay with them two more nights. 

The team and I decided that we should watch every movie in the 2-by-4 movie theatre that there was haha.  The theatre was so small and hot I couldn’t deal with it, but it killed time.  We also had a little bowling marathon that got pretty competitive.  Honestly I thought a fight was going to break out.  The tennis team is competitive in absolutely every thing.  At about 11:30 at night I decided I should right my paper that was due the next day, glad I left it to the last minute.   

At about 1:30 a.m. I decided to watch 24 that the family taped for me.  I had to watch it because it’s by far my favorite show.   Finally Tuesday morning arrived and we were heading to the airport, but still I didn’t think it was possible we were leaving.  I for sure thought something was going to go wrong.  I went to the gate because all our tickets said that we didn’t have a seat confirmation and I was like, ooo here we go.  I went up to the gate agent, he looked at my ticket for a while then decided there was nothing he was able to do, so he went to grab a coffee.  I was thinking to myself you have got to be kidding me.  Eventually we got seat confirmations and we were airborne. 

All these events lead me to right now sitting on the plane with 1 hour left to Zona!!!!  I’m enjoying first class I don’t know how I pulled that off, but I’m chilling here in the front row.  Thinking over this long spring break here is what I have learned. 

1. I would not trade one guy or coach on this team for anyone else in the country.

2. Montgomery feels like my second home. 

3. I have never in my life met better people than the hosts for University of Arizona at the Blue/Gray tournament.  Just imagine four families who know nothing about you, and with that, making sure that you have everything you could possibly need and basically become part of the family for a week.  I know that I will be in touch with the family I stayed with and that’s what it’s all about. 

This was more than just a tennis tournament it was a time to remember how good people really are, because I feel at times that is forgotten!

Till next time,

Bear Down and Go Cats!!

Yours Truly,

Jason Z

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