First, our team has never made it this far. We were 5th out of 23 teams and the top 8 qualify for the state matches - so we made it to the quarterfinals playing the #4 team.
Second, it was hot out. Now, I don't mean warm. My car read 97 degrees when I arrived at the high school and then we drove over a hour south to Bedford. It had to be over 100 degrees in Bedford and even hotter on the courts with no shade.
But, we were not deterred. I was prepared. I packed a cooler filled with ice and damp towels, so that the girls would have cold towels for their heads. I had cold water "misters" that they could be sprayed with. I also packed as much water as we could carry.
Bedford was prepared too. They had water thermoses - the kind filled with Gatorade at NFL games available for everyone to fill up with.
We arrived and got started. After a very brief warm up - the girls were ready to go.
The girls played the 6 singles matches. All were tough. All kids played very, very well. But, we lost all except one - Sadie won her match 6-3 - because her opponent retired due to heatstroke.
Understandable - it was hot as hell!
Let me explain - the girls on the team who were not playing and me - ran around to the 6 courts encouraging the players, refilling water bottles and misting the players. It was so hot. We could barely keep up.
I instructed the girls that if they felt as if they were going to faint - if they felt dizzy or had trouble seeing or hearing -they were to bend down to the ground. If they were going to faint, I didn't want them to fall to the ground from standing tall. (Many people have broken legs and arms this way, not to mention banging their heads).
After the singles were over, I went the the girls who were spread out on the ground covered in towels and ice packs.
This did not look good.
I was going to round them up for doubles - but took one look at their beet red faces, their lifeless eyes and general demeanor.
I made an executive decision that we would forfeit the remaining matches and head to Dunkin Donuts for some ice cold Coolatas.
I approached the coach from the other school and shook his hand, thanked him for his hospitality and conceded the match. I wished him well in the semi-finals and started to walk away.
He thanked me and then said, "You have a very nice team, very classy the way everyone acted today, thank you".
I looked around at the carnage. The players still laying on the ground trying to catch their breathe, their teammates still misting them with water to cool down and thought that he was absolutely right!