When Chris Davidson took over the boys and girls tennis programs at his alma mater, the Adairsville High product didn’t envision his first season going this way.
To be fair, nobody would have anticipated the teams’ seasons would be cut short by a global pandemic. But the unexpected nature of the situation didn’t make it any easier for Davidson, as he tried to come to grips with his debut season ending in such an unprecedented scenario.
“It was horrible timing,” Davidson said. “… It’s just bad luck that it happened the way it did.”
Davidson spent four seasons playing for Piedmont after graduating from Adairsville in 2010. A decade later, he returned to Tigers tennis to take over for former head coach Michael Roberson.
The Adairsville boys team made it to the state tournament last spring, ending a drought that stretched back to 2014. However, the team didn’t bring back many players, which led to Davidson having to recruit kids to fill the lineup. Even still, the boys were a respectable 4-5 when the 2020 season was canceled.
While Davidson was sad to see the season end for his four senior boys, he was truly heartbroken for his girls, who were putting together a phenomenal season.
“I hate it for my girls, because they were 7-2, No. 3 in the region,” Davidson said. “There was nobody else who was going to beat us for the rest of the season. The girls haven’t been to state since like 2013, I think, and this was their chance to go. Not only were they going to go but also they were going to go far.”
If the COVID-19 outbreak begins to subside this summer, Davidson is hoping to get to hold some sort of celebration to recognize his seniors, including the two on the girls side, for all their hard work.
“It’s tough to have their tennis ended with something like this, especially with how good the girls were doing,” he said. “It is what it is.
“I’m still going to try and do a little something for them, as far as like a banquet or gathering in the summer before they start going away to college. I guess we’ll have to see.”
As much as Davidson wanted his pair of seniors on the girls team to get to experience state, he feels strongly that the rest of this year’s roster, which totaled 13 players, will get to reach the postseason next spring. With a strong young core, including several players committed to taking year-round individual lessons, Adairsville’s girls tennis future appears bright.
“It’s going to be on next year,” Davidson said. “This year I was kind of getting my feet wet and getting into the program. … I’ve got a lot of talent with the girls, and they’re young. I don’t see why we can’t finish what we started this year next season.”
Speaking of next season, Davidson will bring a different perspective to his job. After how his first year in charge of the Tigers went, he’s hoping to enjoy the journey more instead of only looking ahead to where the team will be at the end of the season.
It’s possible Davidson would have made that self-assessment at some point, but considering the year ended with the coronavirus forcing the season to be abandoned, it likely accelerated that process.
“Instead of the end goal, worry about the progress that we’re doing here and now,” Davidson said of his new focus. “Maybe, I should have done that a little bit more. Whenever we would win a match, I would say, ‘Well, the season’s not over. We still have a lot of work to do.’ I kept looking at the picture, as a whole, when it kind of got taken away from us.
"I kind of didn’t celebrate the victories then, because I wanted to wait to celebrate the victories later. Now, I don’t get to celebrate them at all. … Maybe, I need to start recognizing the accomplishments in that moment.”