The 2019 Rams Reflect is the third in a series of annual collections. Senior captains and representatives of Suffolk teams have been invited to contribute viewpoints based on personal experience from both their senior seasons and full varsity careers at Suffolk.
For a complete listing of past and present Rams’ Reflections, click here.
Meagan French| Hometown: Newton, N.H. | Psychology
As a senior looking back on my time at Suffolk, my most memorable experiences affiliated with the University are of being a member of the tennis team. I started playing tennis only as a freshman in high school, less than four years before my entrance into Suffolk. I learned quickly and became the best at my high school but stepping onto the courts my first day as a member of the Suffolk tennis team, I could see very quickly I was going to need to step up my game. I owe my abilities today to my coach Steve Counihan with a little boost from Matt Tiberii in between.
As most people recognize, tennis is an extremely individual sport. When you’re not playing with a doubles partner it can feel like you’re on your own little island by yourself. In order to be a strong player it is imperative to have a strong mental game. Coming into Suffolk, the weakest part of my game was my mentality towards it. Of course I could improve on my shots with slight changes to my technique and I could improve on my ability to finish points by adjusting my strategy, but changing my mental game was a challenge I would have to work at. I can recall one match I played my freshman year that was particularly frustrating. I knew I was able to win against the girl I was playing, but I was losing…badly. I was down in the second set and I was visibly frustrated with myself for missing shots and being upset made my playing even worse. Coach Steve came over to my court in between games to talk to me and said, “Meagan, it’s alright if you don’t win every point. It’s alright if you don’t win every game. It’s alright if you lose your match. The most important thing is that you’re enjoying yourself. You’re doing the thing you love most, don’t let losing the match get in the way of your love for the game”. I continued playing, still frustrated as I was to start and I lost the match. Of course I was upset with myself, but I knew Steve was right. So I put in work on the psychology of my tennis game.
Fast forward to one of my last matches during my last season at Suffolk. After three long years of hard work to improve my mentality and have a better demeanor on the court, I finally saw big improvements. I was playing another singles match, but this time I was winning. I felt confident that I should win the second set and instead, I found myself losing 1-5. Needless to say, I was frustrated and upset. I had won the first set and I knew I deserved to win my match, so what was happening? It was clear most of the points I was losing were the ones I was down on myself during. So I said to myself, Meagan, it’s alright if you don’t win every point. Every shot doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re doing what you love, maybe for one of the last times ever as a member of a collegiate team. It’s time to just be happy to be playing at all. With those thoughts in mind, and some cheers from my teammates, both former and current, I ended up coming back and winning the second set 7-5. If it hadn’t been for Steve’s advice three years prior and the occasional words of encouragement from the team, I might’ve let myself get frustrated enough to lose my match again that day. I might’ve lost that second set and not been level headed enough to come back from it.
The most important part of this memory for me is that it has not only improved my mentality through my tennis game but in my life in general. I try to be as appreciative as I possibly can of everything life has to offer me. Steve’s words of advice translated into my school work, presence in the classroom, my attitude in the workplace and of course my position on the team. It is easy to be overtaken by negative experiences in life; to get caught up in what is bad and lose sight of how fortunate we are to have what we do. I have grown into a more mature and generally happier person thanks to the Suffolk tennis team.
My experiences throughout college, whether within the realm of school, work, or life in general, have changed my outlook on my experiences as a whole. As a freshman entering Suffolk, I was naïve. I took for granted what I was lucky to have in the first place. I was lucky to be able to play tennis at all let alone for the Suffolk tennis team. I was lucky to meet my coaches and some of the sweetest, most supportive girls I will ever have the pleasure of knowing. I am lucky to be a Ram and to have been able to do what I love through my school for four years. I am grateful every day for the experiences I am able to have both good and bad. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them and for that, I’m thankful to Suffolk University, the athletic department, my coaches and my teammates. I owe my experience as a Ram to them and I am proud to call myself an alumna of the Suffolk University women’s tennis team.