“You didn’t make the team.”

And with those words, Jamela Anderson’s heart sank. Then a junior, she couldn’t believe she wasn’t going to play basketball for the school. No more changing for the games, no more skid marks on her shoes, no more cheering from the crowds. Everything felt different to her.

Now a senior, Anderson realizes that maybe getting cut was a good thing.

“It was because I was cut my junior year I decided, ‘You know what? I have to get into shape,’ so I joined tennis.”

It was then she noted the physical skills needed to play basketball could be applied to those needed in tennis, especially with footwork. By the end of practice, her thigh muscles still throbbed, her heartbeat still hammered, and her breath still labored to find its momentum.

With time, Anderson discovered she actually enjoys playing tennis. She also has started establishing a friendship with the tennis coach, Shannon Markley. “I don’t know why I didn’t try this sooner. I mean, I really like the coach. She makes me feel good about myself when I practice.”

She admits that in the past the tennis coach attempted to persuade her to join the team, but Anderson never felt a connection to the sport. “She asked me in my freshman year to play tennis, and my sophomore year, and my junior year, but I was so focused in basketball. I only wanted to play basketball.”

Beginning at the basics as a senior wrecked her nerves at first. “Because it was my first year, I started off at a baby level. But the coach saw something in me and bumped me up to varsity.”

Though the transition from basketball to tennis required much consideration for Anderson, now she claims she doesn’t miss a beat when challenged to a tennis match, eager to use any and all game time to sharpen her skills.