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By Mark Hancock

Tennis here in South Carolina is a close community. The state is not all that big which allows for players to see one another here or there during the year. So everyone pretty much knows who everyone is. While telling this story I and my captain shall remain nameless for reasons to become clear in a moment.

Our team had managed to find its way into the state finals for the 3 straight year. We had an ok team but were weak in couple of positions. We knew we had to pull a singles point but that was going to be hard due to matchups. If we matched our best player with thiers we would lose both singles and lose the match. So we tried to match our best singles player with thier worst singles player and hope for a win. The problem was that thier best singles players had been playing 1 or 2 in no set pattern so we would have to guess. Guess right we win, guess wrong we lose. It was that simple. The other captain also knew this. We watched him walk around with his scorecard mulling over just how to line up his singles players. Each Captian trying to out smart the other. Our team spread out all over the place just in case we may get a glance at the top secret line up. Behind trees, around buildings, and even had friends that were dressed in civilian clothes spy for us. To no avail. That captain was holding that scorecard tight. He looked around and spotted some bleachers next to the courts. Big and very tall bleachers. He climbed to the top. Looked around again, because our captains reputation was well known, and began to write. He was safe. Bordering the bleachers on the backside was a golf driving range. Naturally, trees were planted to protect the tennis players from stray balls along with a net for insuarnce agianst the incoming missiles. We felt defeated. It was left to chance now. In an act of self sacrifice, without a moments hesitation, our fearless captain bolted around the back of the clubhouse. dug his way under the protective net and was in enemy territory. Out of nowhere, a team mate nudges me and whispers "I just dont believe it!" "What is it?" I asked. He pointed. About 30 feet up in the air dangling on a rickety old branch was our feerless captain. He climbed the tree, slid out on a branch and overlooked the enemies shoulder and saw the lineup. He then made it back from enemy lines and filled out our line up and we won the state championship for the 3rd year in a row.

A TRUE STORY!!! Every year we tell that story before the finals of the state. We have won 7 out of the last eight years. The year we didn't win it we won the Georgia state. But that is another story.