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The van was parked on the third floor of the parking garage, meaning the team had to walk almost 15 minutes together in near silence. Mark was raving, twirling his fingers and vitriolically murmuring something to himself. Devon and Tristan moved liked zombies, only sharing a few glances at each other before regaining their shamble. Dale was growling at his mother in Ukrainian through the phone. Pete’s signature crooked smile couldn’t seem to hold itself up. Even Keagan, the goofy freshman who always had a spring in his step, blankly stared ahead as he walked.
The pit in my stomach grew bigger. I couldn’t let our season end like this. I tried to diffuse the tension with some of the worst tennis puns I could think of, but it was no use. Suddenly, Coach looked back at me, and turned up the radio. “No way”, I thought, “It couldn’t be”. I hear Freddie, and the lone piano. The Lord Almighty had decided to bestow on us, out of all songs, “We Are The Champions” by Queen. I murmured through the end of the first verse, eliciting a few stares, but then I felt it.
“WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ARE THE CHAAAAAMPIOOOONS, my FRIEEEENDS!”
Tristan snickered, Devon laughed. Dale rolled his eyes, but at least he was smiling. On the second time around, however, Triet and Mark jumped in with cracking voices and happy eyes. Loss is inevitable. There will be a point where mouth meets dirt. But, defeat is a choice. I know that every single player leaving that van had held their head up high, determined and content with a successful season. As I, and the rest of the tennis van, said on that Saturday afternoon, “we’ll keep on fighting till the end”
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