New Boys Tennis Captain reflects on the season so far

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The Boys Tennis season has officially kicked-off, starting off with several 5-0 wins, leaving them first in their division with an undefeated 4-0 record. This year, Coach Stephen Mazza appointed senior Justin Chong as captain.  

Justin, who has been playing tennis for ten years, shares how he developed his passion for the sport: “I remember picking up a tennis racket for the first time and hitting around on a basketball court. I watched the greats like Federer, Nadal, Sampras, and Edberg, and started playing competitively at age 10. Through my journey, I’ve realized that tennis has treated me very generously and I’m grateful for the opportunities the sport has given me.”

Following last year’s shortcoming in advancing to the semi-finals, the tennis team is looking forward to improving. Justin reflected on his anticipations and hopes for this season. He said, “I think we could win the Queens Division championship this year. We’ll definitely be in the playoffs again as well, and I’m hoping we make it past the quarter-finals this time. For me, I’m just going one match at a time and seeing where that takes me.”

Justin emphasized that leading by example is the most valuable way he could lead his team. He claimed that as a captain, he is obligated “to show them that I’m going to put the work in at practice and especially during matches… and that I’m going to fight for every point.” He said, “It’s [especially] important to have this energy and passion for the sport since it boosts everyone’s morale.” Justin is also accountable for upholding various other responsibilities, from strategizing with his teammates to structuring practices. “Most importantly, though, I give a little speech before every match to pump up the players.” said Justin. 

Regarding his experience leading his teammates, he said, “Most of the guys on the team have years of experience playing tennis, and a lot of us put our heart and soul into this sport, so it’s been great working with them.”

Justin also shared the personal growth he has experienced throughout his years of playing. “The most important thing I’ve learned is to have confidence and have trust in the training I’ve done for countless of hours year round,” said Justin. 

Coach Mazza highlights the importance of “motivating your team” as a critical leadership characteristic that allows “players to look up to you and your abilities.” Thus, he appointed Justin due to his stellar performances in games, initiative while leading practices, and ability to cooperate with his teammates to instill a sense of community within the team.

Sophomore Justin Xia expressed how Justin offered a welcoming and insightful introduction into his first ever sports team. He expressed how he felt reluctant to join due to the thought of “being an outsider.” Yet, “the extreme support, comfort, and inclusivity that my captain provided me is what changed my thoughts on high school teams. Not only has he made my experience much better than I expected, but he’s also helped me improve my play style and thought process throughout each point,” said Justin. 

“I feel that our captain has done an extraordinary job at rallying team spirit and staying on top of [his] duties,” said junior Vincent Yip. 

Similarly, sophomore George Jong said, “His enthusiasm and spirit really rubs off on everyone and boosts the morale for both me and my team.” 

After recalling his past seasons, labeling it as a roller coaster, Justin said, “I’ve always just wanted to represent Townsend Harris for tennis and it’s been a great experience to. Overall, I’m just grateful we’re able to play at the full competitive capacity we can now, and I know we’ll do great.”