Updated: Apr 6, 2020
The summer of 2019 had its ups and downs. In July, I was driving on the 405 up from Huntington Beach headed toward Santa Monica. Just before I got to I-10, I felt an incredibly sharp pain in my side. It felt like I had been shot. I had my phone give me directions to the nearest hospital. I ended up in UCLA Medical Center with a kidney stone. Unfortunately, being out of state, and by myself, a few things occurred. First, I ended up having to have a CT scan (which my insurance decided not to cover... Whole different story). Long story short, I was laid up for ten days in a hotel room before finally passing the stone and feeling human enough again to make my way out to the beach.
On Wednesday, July 24th 2019 I had just finished up practice getting to work with Casey Patterson and Chase Budinger. I had been helping Ryan Mariano out with them for the season and had been learning a ton! Well, that afternoon I got a call from one of my former players. Macy Gordon who was now playing for Todd Rogers at Cal Poly had registered for the AVP Qualifier in Hermosa Beach. It was the next day and she needed a coach to work herself and her partner Julia Scoles (University of Hawaii) through the tournament. I'm not sure if Macy felt bad for me for being so sick earlier in the summer or what, but I was excited for the opportunity and I humbly accepted. After so many years of coaching, it was finally my first chance to get to be the coach in the box at a professional event.
I got down to the beach early the next day. I wanted to be sure to get there before the girls so that I could get settled into the tournament, check the board to see what court they would be on, and get ready for the day. I hadn't gotten to see Julia play much yet, but had gotten the low down from Macy and from her coach at Hawaii, Evan, as to what her skill sets were. These two were both incredibly fierce competitors. They started out their first match a little nervous, but then caught fire with their jump serves.
It was awesome! A girl I had coached while she was in high school. A girl I had watched lose a quarterfinal match in Santa Monica in juniors and be so frustrated with herself that she literally got one ball and jump served it and chased it down only to jump serve it again, for the entire semifinal, and the final of the tournament, was on FIRE!!! We rolled through the first couple of rounds and got into the round to qualify for the main draw! As I got to the court and sat behind the coach's box waiting for the match to finish, so many memories of this young lady popped into my head. From her bent thumb, to her panic attack after a heated match. From the #BABYGOAT she was to the #MASTERGOAT she had become, it was like her entire career played out in my mind in that moment. I was so proud of her! There can't be many coaches out there that get the honor of coaching kids through their juniors career and then also getting the honor of coaching them at the professional level as well. There are no words to describe how honored I was in that moment.
The match started and in true Macy Gordon form, she was loud! She was passionate! I looked around and since the AVP First National Championships were going on at the same time, she had drawn a crowd of many of the girls in our club. Most of them had never played with her, but came out to cheer her on because she was RPM family. As the match got more intense, so did Macy.
As I was sitting in the coaches box on the north side of the court, a woman came up to me and said, "excuse me coach, I'm sorry, I know you are working. I was just wondering if you could tell me that young lady's name. You see my daughter is legally blind but that young lady's passion is incredible. My daughter heard her earlier today and has been cheering for her all day. We have been following you guys to different courts. Her loud and boisterous demeanor is allowing my daughter to experience her passion."
In that moment, I couldn't have been more proud or excited for Macy. She had a true fan. The match was pretty epic. We came out on the losing end 19-21, 19-21, but my first experience in the box as a coach will be one that I will remember for the rest of my days thanks to the moments that Macy created for me. I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity!
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