While basketball and football usually dominates the desires of young urban men, for one, tennis takes complete control.
Paul Paige, a senior business administration student loves the sport and everything it entails.
At the tender age of four, the 22-year-old Philadelphia native was introduced to tennis and hasn’t stopped playing since.
“Tennis gives me an outlet,” Paige said. “I now have options. Where I’m from, people don’t really play it. But it’s very, very different and exposes you to different things and people.”
Not only does tennis broaden his horizons, Paige said it also tests his capabilities.
“I like tennis because it’s a challenge,” he said. ” It’s a team sport, but you are on the court alone.
It’s just you and your opponent and the best person wins.
You can’t rely on anyone else, and you have to handle your own business.”
But despite the transition from what’s considered normal in his town, he continually pushes forward.
“Perseverance is the most important thing I have ever learned,” Paige said. “In life there will be obstacles and you have to learn to adapt and persevere through it.”
And persevere is definitely what he has done. Paige has reached different levels of prosperity amidst all odds.
Paul has claimed several awards and won numerous tournaments. Paige won the C-Flight Tournament and the HBCU Classic, twice. Paige has also won All Conference awards for his high academic grade point average. But his success didn’t come easily. He had to put forth maximum effort.
“Playing tennis in college is a lot different than high school,” he said. ” Everyone is good and can play. You definitely have to adjust your game to everyone else’s abilities.”
In order to maintain a level of victory, he and his team practice rigorously.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” Paige said. ” We practice everyday for about three hours. We lift weights twice a week and we run.”
Paige also spends time mentally preparing for his matches.
“The main thing I do is try to relax by listening to music,” he said. ” I try to clear my mind and get really focused. I try not to put pressure on myself.”
The team captain, Michael Moore, 20, has esteemed feelings toward his teammate.
“He is always energetic and playful,” said Moore, a political science student from New York. ” He’s the one pulling pranks, but once we step on the court, he turns into a different person,” Moore said.
Moore described Paige as an extremely hard worker who is the first one to practice and the last to leave the court.
Simba Happy, 20, has similar thoughts on his fellow teammate.
“He always shows up ready to play and he supports the team,” said Happy, a senior business administration student from Zimbabwe. “He always puts the team first, and his personal issues aside.”
Paige said he has aspiration of playing professionally, but is weighing other options.
“If the opportunity to play professionally arises, I wouldn’t shy away from it,” Paige said. ” But that’s not my plan.”
Paige said upon graduation he wants to pursue a career in finance or graduate school.
The men’s tennis team has several upcoming matches, including two on Saturday against Norfolk State University and Chicago State University. For more information, visit famurattlersports.com.