Winning isn’t everything

Mustafa Zirapury, Editor in Chief

“What is Greenhills men’s tennis about?”

I still remember when Coach Randolph first asked my team this question during my first year on the varsity tennis team. We were all sitting at the entrance to the courts, drinking water after a rough day of practice. My initial thought was ‘winning’ because to a younger me, that was all that mattered. However, as everyone began to give their answers, I realized mine was definitely not right. So, I changed my answer to ‘perseverance.’ It seemed like a plausible answer, right? But no, I was wrong. Puzzled and waiting for Randolph to give us the answer, I sat there confused.

“The man next to you.”

That was Randolph’s answer. I was even more perplexed than before he gave the answer. What did that even mean? The worst part was that Randolph didn’t even expand on what it meant. Every time we asked him, he would just shrug his shoulders and say, “That’s for you to figure out.”

I remember sitting there trying to figure out what Randolph meant. Maybe this was going to be another one of his sayings that I would never understand. However, this was far from the truth. Although it took me three years to figure it out, I think I’ve finally grasped what it means.

Greenhills men’s tennis is not all about winning. Sure, we do like to win, but it isn’t everything. It’s about putting the needs of your teammates above your own. It’s about helping the rookies joining the team and making them feel like part of the group. It’s about assisting others in scouting their opponents and planning the matches they will play. It’s about being there to pick up your teammate’s equipment when they are physically incapable of doing so. It’s about supporting your teammate after a tough loss. It’s about staying up late, coming up with plans and strategies for upcoming matches.

My Greenhills high school experience would have been different if it weren’t for the tennis team. It was the first time I felt like I was truly a part of something bigger than myself. I began to care less about my wins and more about the team wins. I wouldn’t celebrate personal victories, but I would celebrate if the team won. The team wins felt like my own wins, and the team losses felt like my own losses, no matter what the outcome of my match was.

At times, it was challenging to stay true to putting my teammates’ needs above my own. During the State Tournament my senior year, it meant brushing aside the outcome of my own matches and putting my heart into cheering on my teammates. During the frigid two days of the tournament, I stood in the cold to support the other players on the team throughout their matches, applauding their efforts and trying to give them the energy they needed to pull through.


Our high school tennis season may have ended six months ago, but our connection as teammates remains stronger than ever. We developed a lasting bond on the courts, which has carried over into our daily lives. We continue to spend quality time together, whether it’s playing tennis for fun, going on group outings, or just catching up and sharing our life experiences. As we face new challenges and opportunities, we can always rely on the memories we created as a tennis team and the unwavering support of our tight-knit friendships.