April 11, 2012
Throughout her final season at Tennessee, senior Natalie Pluskota will provide her account and reflections of the 2012 season. In this edition, Pluskota talks about her final home matches at Tennessee and touches on Volscars.
SENIOR DAY WEEKEND
Last weekend was such an emotional, yet exciting one for me with Senior Day on tap. Going into the weekend, I was extremely pumped knowing that the stands would consist of friends and families. Prior to the match on Friday, my mom informed me that my brother Nic, my grandmother, and her would be the only ones from my family at the match and that as the weekend progressed more of my family and friends will come. The fact about my mom is she loves leaving out exactly who will be coming to the matches sometimes. She loves surprising me and seeing the reaction on my face as those particular people she "left out" in previous conversations show up.
As we started singles, I had just picked up a ball and was walking to the line to serve when I heard an extremely familiar voice coming from the stands, my brother Ed! It was awesome. I could not help but smile as I was about to serve. Once the point had finished, I turned around to see even more people had shown up that I had no clue would be coming such as Ed's girlfriend, Marilyn, and a good family friend Joe. This was only the beginning of the "surprises" for the weekend.
While at dinner Saturday, I received a Twitter notification consisting of a link with a "Thank You" video (see above) from my teammates and coaches. I instantly looked up at Jo, Jesse, and Caits who were all with me a bit confused. I had no idea or knew anything about this video and the girls could not help but smirk at my reaction. To say I was nervous about it would be an understatement, considering the fact that I had already started feeling emotional about senior day and my last home match. I could not watch the video until I got back into the car where it was quiet, and even then I hesitated. To make things even more dramatic, we plugged my phone into my car stereo. As the video played, the more I heard the girls and the amazing things they were saying, it all started becoming more of a reality. This was it. My career at UT was coming to an end. It truly has been the best four years of my life, and this video only made it better! Big thanks and hugs to those who made it!
Senior Day was finally here. Iwoke up a bit emotional but extremely excited about the it. When I got to the courts and saw the girls, I could not help but smile! We were not there long before Mike informed us that we would be having a small Easter Egg hunt in the indoor facility. Instantly the little kid in every one of us came out, but a little more competitive and feisty. It was great because Mike told us before we started, that he strategically placed the eggs. More specifically, everyone had a particular door that they were supposed to go through, and that was all determined by how "healthy" you were. So those on crutches were to go through one door, as the eggs were placed more to fit their needs. Whereas those who were healthy had to go through another door, virtually where the eggs were placed in more difficult places! Prior to the Easter egg hunt Mike disappeared. The girls and I could not find him and could not take the anticipation so we all started the hunt without Mike! After some serious determination and a full team effort, all twenty-four eggs were discovered! Winning!
As I was in the training room starting to prepare for our warm-up, my mom showed up to get my Student ID. As she walked into the training room she was grinning from ear to ear as she said "Guess who is here??" For a quick second, I thought "Oh man, here we go again with the surprises!" Seconds later, one of my closest friends from my hometown came around the corner! I had no idea she was coming! It was great and another amazing surprise! Mom is 2-for-2 this point on surprises for the weekend. The day was getting better and better and we had not even started the match yet.
When we walked on the court to warm up, "Natdog" was written on the scoreboard. I could not help but smile when I saw it! Thanks Chris!! For the most part the warm up went well, until I realized Jo and Caits stole my iPod and started playing some of our favorite songs!
Finally the time had come, the Senior Day presentation. I received lots of flowers from my friends and families, just like I did at my Senior Day in high school for basketball. As I walked out to the service line, I was composed, and remained that way for the most part throughout the rest of the presentation. The moment it ended and I turned to my team, I began to lose it. This was the last time I was going to break it down on our home courts with this team. Needless to say it took me a minute, but in that particular moment, I did not want to be anywhere else or with anyone else for that matter. We all huddled up together, the atmosphere was one of a kind and one that I will never forget. Finally, I got it together enough to break it down one last time... "Lady Vols on three...one, two, three!"
Big shout out to Kata in doubles! We had such a great time out there playing together. There was one point in the match where Kata was on it, smacking winners left and right. She was finding holes all over the court and executing! I could not help but turn and smile at her, as we both laughed, knowing that we were playing great and having a great time!
The tweener I hit in singles was epic for sure. (Sidenote: Sonia is not a incredible! Everyone went crazy, it was awesome. The atmosphere was indescribable, the smiles and looks on people's faces were priceless. It was hands down was of my greatest memories on our home courts, and no better day to do it on. After the match, I made sure to ask Sonia if she had seen it. She smiled and said she did, as she was shaking her head. The only other time I hit one in a match when she was around was at National Indoors, and I won the point that time as well. I can not help but think that maybe I should hit it more often when she is watching, considering I am 2-for-2!!
Big shout out to my Mom, Dad, Ed, Nic, Gma, Luke, Marilyn, Kirby, Carly, Amy, Jared, Joe, The Henderson Family, Mrs. Boren, Ms. Clifford, Vegas, Jo, B, Kata, Caits, Jesse, The Pfleger Family, Mike, Sonia, Mario, Coach Trucks, Chris, Amanda, Andrew, Holly, and The Willams family for being there on Sunday. Thank you for making my day one that I will never forget and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have and will always give my all for Tennessee.
Just a little bit on the Volscars. It is always great seeing everyone dressed up and together celebrating some of the year's accomplishments. It was exciting for our team to take home the Big Orange Cup Award as we are extremely active in the community taking part in events such as Feed The Need, Toys for Tots and the grand opening of a tennis club in Pigeon Forge. This award is also given to the team who actively and regularly attends SAAC as well as engages in personal development. Overall the show was extremely entertaining and a success!