I think Brady would prefer that I didn't talk about this part of our Chicago trip...but, it is
what it is and I will make it short and sweet.
Brady played some of his best tennis in Chicago. Little Mo is a tournament for 8-11 year olds...and you only play against kids your age. There were kids there from New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Missouri, Massachucettes, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. Those are the ones I remember. The best 10 year olds in those states.
Brady lost his 3rd round match. The match before he would have qualified to go to
Nationals in Texas in October. It would have been easier to handle had Brady played his best.
He won the first set 6-3 and I felt myself take a big breath and relax. Brady was the stronger player. He controlled every point and the boy was slowly having a breakdown/meltdown out on the court.
Then, at the start of the second set, the boy walked up to Brady and said something. (Usually players never talk once the match starts.) I knew immediately something wasn't right. I could see the look on Brady's face, his shoulders came down and he didn't look himself out there. Nor did he play like himself either. He ended up losing that set 1-6. Because they each won a set, they had a 10 point tie break. I knew Brady would lose the tie breaker, and he did. I think the score was 10 to 6.
When Brady came off the court, we took him off to an area away from the crowd. He cried and cried...harder than he has in years. I think when you play your best and lose...then there's nothing to be sad about. It's when you don't play your best that it hurts the most.
At the start of the second set, the boy called Brady a name. Brady has yet to tell us what the boy said...but it obviously hurt him and he couldn't move past it. He said the boy made him feel terrible. I think even the spectators watching were surprised that Brady lost and were questioning some of the boys actions out there. Unfortunately in junior tennis, the players make their own line calls and are taught to handle things on their own. It's the only sport I know of where there aren't officials or referees...at least until you get to the pro level. :(
While Eric consoled Brady, I walked over to the boy's mother who was standing alone and said, "I don't know what your son said to my son, but your son is a bully."
Yes, I did. And, I regretted it as soon as I walked away.
Brady always conducts himself with such class and character out on the court...and there I went
in a weak moment and made a fool of myself...which could have reflected poorly on my son.
For that, I am so sorry. I
hopefully will never do that again.
It was not the way he wanted to end the tournament. He was devastated he let this kid
beat him like he did and was so sad that he didn't make it to Texas.
It was a learning experience for sure...and one we're still working on.
He learned that some kids will do whatever it takes to win. He learned that not everyone
plays fairly or is a good sport and he cannot let that affect his game. He also learned that
he needs to work on his mental toughness.
Being a parent is so hard...I hope we say the right things in the right moment.
Brady has so much to be proud of. Right before we left for Chicago, Brady moved to
#1 in the ranking in Central Pennsylvania. He has made quite a name for himself...and
more importantly, there is rarely a tournament when someone doesn't comment on what a nice boy he is. Nothing makes me more proud.
I hope Brady remembers the good stuff about Chicago...like his friend Dylan who was able
to cheer him up after his loss...
(Dylan is a year older than Brady & played in the next age group)
Dylan and his family stayed at the same hotel and the boys had so much fun
swimming together, going out to eat and hanging out. Lots of laughs between these
two...and it makes me so happy that Brady has a tennis friend that he can relate to and be
crazy with. He needs that.
So, that's how the tournament went down. Not pretty...but we take the good with the
bad around here and we pick ourselves up, learn from it, and move on.