'Here because they want to be' - The Durango Herald

‘Here because they want to be’ – The Durango Herald

Members of Durango High School girls tennis team practice Monday at DHS. (Abby Bowman / Special to the Herald)

Durango High School girls tennis team committed to game

Every weekday after school, the Durango High School girls tennis team is out on the courts practicing – in rain, wind or shine. The shuffling of feet and the low hum of the balls bouncing off rackets can be heard across the DHS parking lot and all the way down to the Animas River.

These are ordinary tennis sounds made by an extraordinary team.

This year’s team is extraordinary because of its size. With 38 players, it is one of the biggest girls tennis teams DHS has seen in years. It is also extraordinary for its positive approach to the game.

Head coach Darren Tarshis, who has been coaching the team for four years, stresses commitment and a desire for personal improvement over match victories. He said he looks for three main qualities in his players: commitment, growth and coachability.

“In my first year coaching some players treated it like a club, and would come when it was convenient … my area of ​​focus is to make it so that the kids that are committed and are here because they want to be,” he said.

Coach Darren Tarshis leads members of the Durango High School girls tennis team in drills on Monday at DHS. (Abby Bowman / Special to the Herald)

On Tarshis’ team, the varsity, junior varsity and development players are all expected to be equally committed.

Tarshis himself is committed to the game. Being DHS vice principal takes up much of his time and energy but tennis gives him a release.

“For me, I knew pretty early on as an administrator that it can be tough and I have tough interactions with students and being in administration isn’t always being the most liked person,” Tarshis said. “I knew that having some positive outlet where I got to work directly with students was going to be important. It’s been a really positive thing. ”

The commitment Tarshis has to the team is shown through the positive atmosphere during practice. Every day on the courts you hear laughter and words of encouragement from the team.

“It’s a great community. The people on the team are so fun to be around and there’s so much positive energy. We’re kind of like a big friend group, ”said sophomore varsity player Juliet DiGiacomo.

Tennis is not only a tough physical sport, but it’s mentally challenging.

“The worst part of tennis is definitely that it’s a mental sport. If you mess up it’s gonna be in your head for a while, ”said junior Ellie Mclean.

Her sentiment was shared by her teammate, junior Ellie Davenport, the team’s No. 2 singles player.

“Some days it feels like you’re playing really good and then other days you just suck and you don’t know why,” she said.

Despite the challenges of the game, the Durango girls have been playing strong this season, winning two dual matches and losing two matches. The most important matches of the season are coming up, including many home matches where the players will be on their own DHS courts.

Tarshis maintains his philosophy even in the face of serious competition.

Junior Sydney Pritchard practices with the girls tennis team Monday at Durango High School. (Abby Bowman / Special to the Herald)

“I don’t worry about our match results too much, that will work out if everything else is going right,” he said. “If all the kids are getting better and showing up to practice every day and being coachable, you’ll get the match results you deserve.”

So, if you happen to find yourself near the DHS tennis courts on a weekday afternoon, you will find Tarshis and his team working hard on drills and practice games, honing their skills to win matches and growing as players.

Abby Bowman is an intern for The Durango Herald. She attends Durango High School.

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