Porter inspires teammates with humble attitude
Junior Brandon Porter takes his ready stance while waiting for his opponent's next move. Porter first started tennis when he was four years old and has continued to grow in his skills through the FC boys' tennis team and private lessons.
Tennis can be a very demanding sport, both physically and mentally. Physically, because the players must be able to run across the court in a second to return the ball and mentally, because they need to focus intently on anticipating their next move. Junior Brandon Porter understands the strain one undergoes in tennis but accepts the challenge whole heartedly.
The idea of not playing tennis is foreign to Porter because he started at such a young age. Porter has dedicated his time to advancing his skills ever since he was four years old. Dedication is an important aspect in any sport, and fortunately Porter has plenty of that.
"I started playing tennis when I was about four," Porter said. "I really enjoy playing this sport. I played both years in junior high, skipped my freshmen year, picked it back up my sophomore year and have been playing ever since."
Not only does Porter practice with the FC team, he also has private lessons every Saturday with his personal coach, Mark Belman, varsity girls tennis coach at Clovis West High School (CWHS). He practices at the CWHS tennis courts to enhance his talents with the hope that it will also help his team if he is able to deliver on his matches.
"I've been taking private lessons for 12 years now," Porter said. "Mark Belman has been a family friend for a very long time and has given me lessons since I first started playing. He's my mentor for tennis and has helped me so much."
For Porter, his family has always supported him in his tennis career. They encouraged him to stick with a sport and Porter found his love for tennis, committing his time and attention to this activity.
"My parents always encouraged me to play sports as a kid," Porter said. "Tennis was just the one I chose to pursue, and I love it. I feel like my family would be disappointed if I decided to stop, so it's nice to know that I have their full support."
When it comes to the future Porter is undecided about playing tennis in college. Knowing it would be a huge time commitment, Porter is hesitant to further his tennis career past high school.
"I'm not sure if I want to play in college," Porter said. "Sports get really intense at the college level, and I'm not sure if it is something I want to dedicate that much time to. I think I need to focus on my academics first."
"I really want this team to have the best season possible...but I just hope that our team can be a positive influence on the other teams. Also, I hope that they can catch a glimpse of Christ through the way we play and interact with them." --Brandon Porter, '13
Although Porter has been playing since he was young, he still gets a case of nerves right before a match. Even if it is a singles match his score effects the teams overall score, so this adds to Porters nerves, knowing his team is counting on him.
"I always get nervous before I play," Porter said. "I especially get nervous if I know that my match will have a large influence on our team's overall score. It's hard whenever I make an unforced error because it doesn't effect just me but my entire team."
Bible teacher and tennis coach Robert Foshee sees Porter as an important asset to the team as a whole. Foshee believes he will excel greatly this year and next year, if he chooses to play again. According to Foshee, he has great leadership skills on and off the court.
"He's a great inspiration to everyone on the team," Foshee said. "I can definitely see him ascending the ladder for the rankings. He's physically and mentally improved in the sport and has become a better player because of it. Brandon knows how to take instruction also. Most people don't care to listen to constructive criticism and just play their own way but Brandon really listens and applies the tips I give him."
Going against a very skilled player is a difficult task but for Porter, he enjoys the challenge. He sees it as a test of his skills and how hard he can push himself.
"My favorite part of tennis is when I play against someone who I'm evenly matched with," Porter said. "It's fun when someone's really challenging, it makes the game interesting. It also helps me build my skills and see what areas I need to work on more."
Porter enjoys playing both singles and doubles. He appreciates the different aspects of each one, both of them having advantages and disadvantages.
Along with playing singles, Porter competes in doubles with his partner, senior Brady Lee. According to Porter, doubles requires more precision than singles, in that one must maintain more focus and work in unison with a partner.
"There are certain parts of both that I like," Porter said. "In singles, I don't have to worry about letting my partner down if I mess up, but at the same time it is more personal responsibility for me whether I win or lose. For doubles, there's a lot more strategy. You have to stay focused on what your partner is doing and work in unison."
Sophomore Adam Loughney appreciates Porter's dedication and hard work he gives to the sport. Seen as one of the best players on the tennis team by Loughney, Porter shows his leadership qualities without even knowing it.
"He's an amazing tennis player," Loughney said. "He hardly ever gets frustrated on the court and always keeps his cool. I think it's a great thing to see because it helps me calm down too, seeing that he doesn't get mad when he makes a mistake. Also, he always stays focused during the game and doesn't let anything get to him."
According to Porter, tennis is a very social game which gives the players a great opportunity to reach out to their opponents through God. The team is very bonded and focuses on spreading the love of the Lord.
"I like that the team tries to emphasize the evangelical aspect for what we do," Porter said. "Tennis is social so it gives us the chance to further the kingdom of God to all the other schools we play."
Porter has high hopes for the rest of the tennis team. Of course he aspires to return to the valley tournament again but more than anything he wishes for his team to inspire their opponents with Christ-like attitudes.
"I really want this team to have the best season possible," Porter said. "It would be nice to get to the valley tournament again, but I just hope that our team can be a positive influence on the other teams. Also, I hope that they can catch a glimpse of Christ through the way we play and interact with them."
Porter's current personal record in singles is 4-0 and 3-1 with his doubles partner, senior Brady Lee. Overall the boys' tennis team is 3-1, as of April 10. The boys' tennis team will next travel to face the Caruthers Raiders, April 17.
For more information on boys' tennis, read the April 12 article, Boys' tennis sport shorts: FC defeats Riverdale in 8-1 triumph. For more information on FCS sports, visit the Fresno Christian Athletics web page.