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My Tennis Coach: My Bully
Memories of a high school tennis player who was bullied
By Isabel Cavaliere-Enriquez
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Isabel Cavaliere-Enriquez
All rights reserved.
My Tennis Coach: My Bully.
Memories of a high school tennis player who was bullied.
Today: Dear diary, I don't like dates, so I will tell you what happens today, yesterday, and every day. I am so happy! The new tennis season is going to start very soon. I love to play tennis! It is my life! I play tennis since I was three years old, and I love every second I spent in the tennis courts. I'm in 11th grade, so I only have two tennis seasons left before I have to move on to college. I am so happy! Today, my dad bought me new shoes! He changes the grips in my racquets: yes! I am ready to meet my team, my friends ... and the new coach.
Today: The first season, last year, was so funny! We have the best coach we could have. She use to laugh in the tennis court, and she was always happy. She also likes to take us to have something to eat, and she even pays for us. She was such as good person. She looks at me when I play, and I could see her blue eyes shining with proud even if I lost my game. I feel that she love us in the same way. No preferences. Nobody gossiping was tolerate around her, because she was clear about the love that we have to share between each other. Our opinion was important and she appreciated what we have to say. But the most important attribute that I remember, is that she makes us feeling appreciated, respected, important, happy, loved. ... Sadly she had to go to a new city. I miss her so much! We all miss her.
Today: But right now the only thing in my mind is the tennis season. I will love to be with my old friends and I will meet new players. We will be friends forever; the best friends in the world! We are going to play tennis in our birthdays, in our graduation, in our wedding day. We are going to be there for each other the entire life. Tennis is as friends as glue is to pictures in an old album: stick them forever, or at least that is what I believed ...
Today: I am only seventeen. It really feels the same as sixteen. I am in eleventh grade and I have this subject about bulling at school. Of course I know what is bulling. I feel so sad when I see someone bullying a person at school or outside. Thanks God I never been bully. I am a good student, which I recognize is my mom "fault", because she is always pushing me forward, and remaining me that I will play tennis as long I get good grades. (Some time I think that it is very unfair!). I think that I have good sense of humor, and sometimes I get in trouble at home because I like to play jokes with my brothers. So I am listening to my teacher: she wants us to be sure that we understand what bully means. She was explaining that if a person separate you from your group speak bad things about you, hit you, and other awful things, this is part of bullying you. If something of these attitudes happen against you, the best solution is to go with your teacher and ask for help. She also says that bullies don't have age. It means that bullies could be the same age of you, younger than you, or older than you. They could be teachers, students or ...tennis coaches. She wants to be sure that we will say something, if we think someone is being bully. She said that a person can be mean to you, or not like you, but "bully" is a different story. "Ok"-I thought-'Now I know what bully is, and I will help any of my friends if I think they are being victims of a bully. Close case.
Today: The new tennis coach is not beautiful, like Mrs. Stephanie was. I remember Mrs. Stephanie with her hair floating in the air when she was running. Her legs were strong and her forehand was the most powerful I saw in a high school tennis team. She was the kindest coach my school had ever had. Other teams loved her too. Other coaches respect her. I think that some teachers were jealous of her a little bit, because we love her so much! But, all teachers were sad when she left. She was so kindly! I miss her!
Today: Well, Mrs. Stephanie left, and the school found another coach and her name is Cruelta, Mrs. Cruelta. The first day of the season came, and we meet her. We, the tennis team, we were hoping that she maybe will be as nice and lovely as Mrs. Stephanie was, but we were wrong! She was not only always in bad mood, but she also has a lot of fat in her hips. Her eyes look like mouse's eyes, little and dark. Her attitude was the worst part: she told us that she was not going to accept opinions. We see each other knowing how the season was going to be. She was not a bit as good coach as our old beautiful coach. She took the racket in so estrange way, that some of my friends looked at me and express amusement. How can a tennis coach take the racket as a hammer? And the ball went so erratically that we have to run here and there to catch it. In the two hours that we spent following the ball, she did not say to us a single nice word. We were nine girls, four from the old team and five from this new season, including her daughter ...
My mom insisted that I will like Mrs. Cruelta when I now her better. I hope she is right! So far, none of us like her, we all feel intimidated and anxious.
The tryouts weren't real ones. We did not play like we used to play, between each other. This season she made her daughter Morey play with Patty, Patty with me, Mary with Robin, Susan with Micspy, who was a new girl, and Jeannice with Sarah. She did not know how a tryouts works. We use to play a round-robin, and I mean everybody against everybody, sometimes the entire week so Mrs. Stephanie could determine who is playing stronger, because sometimes I was playing better that Patty and sometimes she was playing better than me. But Mrs. Cruelta chose her daughter number one because, as she said to us, she was the best. We looked at each other, she is not even part of the school because she is homeschooled; how can she represent us, and be number one when nobody knows her? Well, it doesn't matter to me, because all I want to do is play tennis in my school's tennis team. My teammates were mad because two of them wanted to be number one, but I explained to them that they could enjoy more the season without the pressure of being number one. They finally agreed with me, and Morey became number one. The season was formally started.
Today: Practice, practice, and practice ... days and days ... I have this weird sense that the coach doesn't like me.
This is the way all started today: -"Who will play the tournament this weekend at Lake Butterfly?"- asked the coach.
-"I will" –answered Patty.
-"Me too"- was my answer and she gave me this look that she reserved only for me, and that always make me feel that she abhorrence everything in me. It was a big tournament outside the school, and very famous. Her daughter was going to play, too. Everybody in the team knows that she did not want me to play against her daughter because I play so much better than her, and that it will be obvious in front of the tennis community that Morey was number one just because her mother was the coach. It is hard to understand, sometimes, but she is obsessive with her daughter, like if her life depends on Morey's games.
-"I think that it would be better if you do not play"-she told me- "because remember that your back is hurting you".
-"But I really want to play"-I said- "And my Dad told me that, if it hurts during the game, I can leave the court".
She said nothing else but I could see her rubbing her hands furiously: she really wanted me out of the tournament! It didn't matter to me; I just want to play tennis, and this is not about the school tennis team.
Today: The day of the tournament. At eight o 'clock I was in the tennis court, and also all my tennis- mates. Friends from my school's tennis team and friends from other tournaments, we were there having fun.
We played the entire day and I classified in doubles against Morey. Her team stared wining and my partner and I were playing really hard to win point by point. People were clapping and supporting both teams. I was thinking "one point at the time". And point by point, we won. I still can see the wining ball being expelling from my racquet, and passing Morey's racquet in slow motion while she was trying to hit it. My ball touched the green floor bouncing majestically and giving us the match. What beautiful and emotive final point! Patty and I hugged each other, laughing, jumping, enjoying the moment, and then we went to Morey and Susan to give them a hand. We were so happy and exited! The trophy was ours! We did it! The four of us left the tennis court smiling and talking about the points. My family ran to us and congratulated the four of us, and also Susan's mother ...but not our coach. Mrs. Cruelta was so disappointed that she was the only one who did not move her body from the chair. We could not believe her attitude! She was our coach, she was training us and she did not come to us and said a thing? My mom told me these words:
-"Darling, you have to be very careful, Mrs. Cruelta did not like you before the tournament, and now that you beat her daughter in front of so many people, is going to be worst". And sadly, my mom was right. The era of hate and revenge stared with my triumph over Morey. I went home and placed my trophy beside the others, but a bitter feeling was surrounding me. This season won't be as fun as I was expected.
Today: On Monday we had practice and Mrs. Cruelta did not mention the tournament at all. It was weird, because with our lovely coach Stephanie we would talking about it at least for a while, but Mrs. Cruelta and her daughter were so disappointed that they did not said hello to me when I said hello to them. Weird again, because how can be a game so important that you don't want to talk with your player or your friend for the only reason that she beat you? The team was practicing for the tournament that was going to be on the weekend. I thought that the coach was going to partner me with Patty, because we played so very good together, but instead, she partner Morey with Patty, and Mary, who plays the less level in the team, with me. Some moms and some players were surprised with the decision, but my mom told me to play the best I could in the three matches, although she was convinced that it was going to be very hard to win any of them. Only wining the three games we will receive a medal, so I was really anxious because I want my medal from this tournament.
The morning started cold and my stomach was empty because I was nervous, too nervous to eat anything at all. My turn came and Mary entered the tennis court in silence. I talked to her and explained that we were there to have fun. I just want to give her confidence, a confidence that I did not have myself, because the circumstances. The first match was an awesome surprise for everybody, and I have to include the coach in the group: we won! She smiled and approached us given Mary a big hug and barely touching me, although she said how happy she was in loud voice, so everybody could hear what she was telling us. I wander how bad she was feeling because she was expecting us to lose the match. Ten minutes later her daughter lost her match ... we won the two next matches, and I got my medal and Morey didn't. My mom and my dad were so happy and proud of me! I did a big effort, but I have to say that Mary played as a professional! The picture was a kind of sad because everyone has a medal, except Morey and Patty. In two minutes I was happy again beyond the sad feeling because they didn't get a medal, but the coach never forgive me for be superior to Morey in a tennis court. (Especially in front of nine tennis coaches and teams). I don't know why, but every time I win, I feel guilty and the excitement disappears ... wasn't that way before Mrs. Cruelta.
Today: This is the fourth week of the tennis season. The practice and the matches are not big deal because we are playing against an easy group, so we think that we could do a good job. I played and won my two matches with the first two schools. My team is feeling resentment because we are so many players, that half of the team never has the opportunity to play. Of course that Morey always plays. Singles and doubles. I play singles sometimes and doubles sometimes. The coach is getting angrier in every school we play, because every time we arrive, the coach of the school asked her if I am number one this year. She has to said "no" and when they asked "then, who is number one" she has to embarrassed herself saying "my daughter is" and people look at her making fun of her. Yesterday the other team were laughing and saying that it was so awful that a coach could have a daughter number one having better players in the team. She knows what people are saying and that make her hate me more and more every week. My mom told me today that this coach is going to kick me out of the team someday. I have to play really well. This team is my dream and my happiness. I love my tennis team. My back hurt so I am attending therapy at school. The stress of having to defend myself from this coach is making me sad. Tomorrow I couldn't play. The therapist wants me to feel better before I play a match again, but I will go to cheer them in every match. Today Mrs. Cruelta was telling me that I was a liar and that I always want to do things my way. I asked her what I did this time, and she only said in very loud voice, so people could hear, "I am so tired of you". I did nothing, I saw her with surprise, and then I understood how it feels being bullied !
Today: So, this week I went to every game cheering the team, "my team". I brought cookies and juice every time, because my mom wants me to be kind with my team. Mrs. Cruelta never thanked me or my mom. When I said something to a player, like "you are doing very well, you can do it", she always yelled at me and commanded me to go away from the courts. I started to feel that I could not do anything good, I am feeling sad and sad everyday! Every day Mrs. Cruelta has something cruel to tell me. I am being bullied by this coach, who was obsessive about to make her daughter a tennis professional, and I am paying the price: they were walking over my happiness, my wishes, my tennis future. I took a decision; I went to see Mr. Nohelp, who was the athletic director at the time. I like him, and I thought that he would see the problem immediately, but he was very good friend of Mrs. Cruelta: he hired her in the first place, so he said that she was right, and that I was the one who was doing wrong. I couldn't believe it! This teacher, who knew who I was since I was in ninth grade, didn't defend me. Mrs. Cruelta had a friend inside the school, the same person that I had as an enemy. Day by day, the word bully started to have sense in my reality. Bullies have their reasons to bully people, and Mrs. Cruelta had hers: fright, anxiety, envy, jealousy, hate, and the idea that her daughter was not good enough to be number one, if I was part of the team. She persecuted me every day, every practice, every minute, even in my dreams! Playing tennis is not fun anymore.
Excerpted from My Tennis Coach: My Bully by Isabel Cavaliere-Enriquez. Copyright © 2016 Isabel Cavaliere-Enriquez. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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