The Mitchell ReportI tell people this all of the time, but I’m going to say it again.
My job is awesome. I get to watch sporting events for free and interact with the players and coaches. It’s a fun (most of the time) job. But what I saw Wednesday afternoon was spectacular. It was one of those things that, if I do this job for a hundred years, I’ll never see it happen again.
On Wednesday, at the Ridgeland Tennis Center, on two courts that were side-by-side, there was 12 years worth of undefeated seasons and state championships.
Seniors Mary Moses Hitt of Manchester Academy and Ellie Yates of Jackson Academy wrapped up their impressive careers with victories in their respective classes’ state championship matches.
Imagine that. On two courts, there were two seniors who had never lost a match (in fact, both of them had lost just one set in six years), winning their sixth straight championships.
“That was fun to watch,” Manchester Academy head tennis coach Debbie Crisler said. “That ball was flying back and forth on those courts. I just stood there and looked at everything and thought how great this is to be watching this. Two great players wrapping up their career on courts right next to one another was very appropriate.”
Very appropriate, indeed.
Perfection is something that is near-impossible to achieve, yet two tennis players finished their careers perfect. How many times do you see something like that happen?
Here’s a better question: How often does a team go undefeated in just one season. It’s only been done once in the NFL. Never in the NHL, NBA or MLB. Never in college basketball. Of course, it has happened in college football, but it’s not very often.
“It’s very, very rare to see a team go undefeated in a season,” Crisler said.
Hitt and Yates did it, though.
They both fought through bad games and injuries during their careers. But the biggest hurdle they had to overcome was the pressure that builds when someone is undefeated. There’s pressure to stay that way because people are watching everything you do. There’s pressure to just not mess things up. There’s pressure not to disappoint.
There’s too much pressure for anyone except Hitt and Yates to comprehend. Nobody else has ever won six straight state championships and never lost a tennis match.