We is Greater than Me
Oct 23, 2013 03:32PM
● By tina
Dragon Sports by Estelle Cottingham
We is Greater than Me perfectly describes the Carroll Dragon tennis team. With 28 varsity and 30 junior varsity players, the program enjoys strong support from parents, friends and the entire high school— and it’s this support that has made Dragon tennis what it is today. The program truly exemplifies what a Dragon family is really made of — hard work, dedication and unconditional love.
The season starts even before school begins, in late July, with matches, practice and relentless conditioning. This is Coach Corey Aldridge’s second year at the helm, and he hopes to see Carroll advance further than last year, when the team reached the Region Semifinals.
With 12 boys and girls players brought up to varsity, the Carroll team not only looks more skilled than in years past but also might be more close-knit than ever. The team gets together every other Thursday for dinner, not as a mandatory activity but because they love being together so much.
“There are some weeks we spend more time together than we do with our own families,” Aldridge says.
With practice every morning and hectic class schedules, these student athletes have a challenge to face in keeping up good grades, but seniors Jack Learmonth and Elise Landers have found ways to succeed.
Learmonth is a four-year letterman whose friends and family keep him motivated. He is planning on attending the University of Oklahoma next year to study petroleum engineering and, of course, play tennis. Although his journey in Southlake will end soon, he has learned many life skills in high school and as a member of the tennis team.
“Being on the Carroll team has shown me what being in a family is like,” Learmonth says.
Like Learmonth, Elise Landers is a four-year letterman at Carroll. She keeps her priorities straight, and that means keeping up her grades. Although she might not get as much sleep, she believes that in the end, it is worth it. Her future is bright as she plans to attend Texas A&M or Oklahoma next fall to study engineering. She also has no plans of leaving tennis.
“Honestly, I think I will end up playing for the rest of my life,” Landers says. “It is something I grew up playing because my mom played in college, so she taught our whole family how to play tennis practically when we learned how to walk.”
For the Carroll tennis team, working together and being there for one another on and off the court will hopefully pay off in a successful season. Being in sync with one another will help the team thrive and perform better, says Aldridge.
“Not only do I think we are good, but we also have a group of really good kids,” he adds. “When I say that, I mean that they are respectful, driven and smart kids who I don’t have to worry about with discipline problems.”
Carroll is off to a great start this season and will battle for a District 4-5A title, which will be decided Oct. 12. The area and regional rounds follow with the Class 5A state tournament held Nov. 1–2 in Austin.
Photo credits: CISD Intern Adam Kit.
Estelle Cottingham is a member of the Carroll Communications and Marketing Internship Program. Estelle is a sophomore at Carroll High School. She is the student council treasurer, a member of the National Charity League and a huge Texas Rangers fan.