Kennedy Shaffer Heads Between the Hedges
by Gary Curreri
, 26 June 2014
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Kennedy Shaffer should fit right in next year as a member of the University of Georgia's women's tennis team.
The mascot for the school is a Bulldog, and Shaffer's tenacity both on and off the court should serve her well. The 17-year-old from Rossford, Ohio, recently made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Georgia in 2015.
Shaffer said she loves the thrill of competition that the sport brings.
"It's an indescribable feeling to be out there competing your hardest and laying it all on the line," Shaffer said. "I think tennis really teaches you lessons that you'll use later in life, too. It teaches you hard work, discipline, and self-sufficiency since you're out there on your own. This is a sport that definitely pushes you to your limits and then some."
It has been somewhat of a challenge for Shaffer, who recently recovered from a back injury that sidelined her for two months from mid-March to mid-May.
"I was struggling with back pain back in January and February, so I would take a little time off and then go back to practicing again," Shaffer said of her injury earlier this year. "It wasn't good for my injury I guess, and I was out two whole months."
Being sidelined was especially difficult for Shaffer.
"It was the most excruciating thing I've ever had to do," Shaffer said. "Being out on the sidelines for so long - knowing everyone was on the courts working hard and getting better - pained me so much. I was miserable."
She admits it weighed on her future plans.
"I was definitely concerned it was going to be a factor in my upcoming tournament schedule and in the long run as well," Shaffer said. "It wasn't seeming to get any better, so naturally I was petrified and also extremely worried that this would affect my future college career. The lost time is very hard to get back as well, so that's a whole different battle I have to face now."
The sport has taught her never to give up, and she needed that lesson as she recovered from the injury. She has proven to be equally resilient on the court.