Conversation with Noah Gardner
by Harry Cicma
, 26 January 2009
Special from NBC.com
This feature is not about a current All-American, a top 150 ATP player, or a national champion. It is rather about a player whose heart epitomizes what NCAA College tennis is all about.
Noah Gardner is a senior captain on Brown University
's men's tennis team. In my opinion, Noah, has represented every aspect of perseverance that makes a successful collegiate athlete.
Gardner was a top flight USTA New England junior, consistently endorsed by the section to compete in Zonal and National surface events.
Despite this impressive resume, he found himself clawing to get a spot on the Brown roster during his freshman year. Ultimately he earned the last spot on the team, and he virtually acted as the team manager.
This is where the heart of a hungry college tennis player comes into play. Instead of whining to Coach Jay Harris about his position on the team, Noah cheered for the Bears on the sidelines, and he worked extremely hard during practices. The next season he moved up, gaining experience in fall tournaments and in the spring lineup.
During his junior year, Noah and doubles teammate Sam Garland went on to gain All-Ivy League second-team honors. To top that off, Gardner and Garland continued their stellar play this past fall by making the finals of the ITA Eastern Regional Doubles Championship, ultimately establishing themselves as a team with pro potential.
Coach Harris brought this to my attention.
"I just had a player that was a manager during his freshman year, make the finals of Regionals. Needless to say, I'm proud."
It made me realize just how big of a jump that is. This is one of many success stories in college tennis, and it is a great example of how sometimes you have to swallow your pride during the transition from juniors to college... how cheering from the sidelines early on won't eliminate your from getting all-conference honors later on.
Attitude is everything in college tennis. Noah Gardner proved it, and that's what college tennis is all about.
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