Patterson to play tennis at OCU
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]
Emily Patterson became interested in playing tennis at an early age. The 18-year-old who graduated from Lanesville Junior-Senior High School last month said it started when she was in the third grade and her teacher, Tyler Duff, suggested to her mother, April, that Emily should play tennis. Duff said more girls were needed on the team and it would be a fun experience.
It was when Patterson was in the sixth grade that she began playing the sport.
“I played (No.) 1 singles all four years of my high school career,” she said.
One of her favorite memories from high school tennis was when she was a sophomore.
“I had a three-hour match against New Albany and went into three sets, and I ended up winning sectionals and had the opportunity to advance on to the next round,” she said. “I have never played that hard or good in my life, and it took everything I had out of me in order to win that match, but it was all so worth it. The whole Lanesville tennis team ran onto the court and all hyped me up. Even though as a team we may have lost, everyone was so excited it felt like we all won.”
While Patterson has played nearly every sport possible during high school, just to give them a try, tennis has been her main focus.
“When I first started tennis, I was absolutely terrible but I really enjoyed it,” she said. “Ever since I was in the sixth grade, I told my mom that my new goal is to be able to play tennis in college and that I want to get really good. Ever since that day, I have played tennis almost every single day of my life.”
She said she has practiced for hours in the heat and the cold and attended summer camps, lessons, tournaments, clinics and “anything else I possibly could to better myself in tennis.”
Her hard work and dedication paid off as she signed a letter of intent to play tennis at Oakland City University, a Christian faith-based college in Gibson County. She plans to play singles for the Mighty Oaks.
“The thing I am looking forward to most about college is definitely making new friends,” Patterson said.
“The thing that made me want to go to OCU is all the people there,” she said. “When I went to my visit, everybody was all so nice and I got such a good vibe from them. I really wanted a good, fun college experience.”
Patterson plans to major in human resources and earn a business degree.
About leaving Lanesville Junior-Senior High School, Patterson said she will miss seeing everyone.
“I have seen the same people every day since I was in kindergarten and, even though I may not talk to them all every day, they are still a big part of my life and I will forever cherish all the memories we have created,” she said.
Patterson offered encouragement for others.
“Always remember that you can do anything you set your mind to,” she said. “Never listen to anyone who ever brings you down in life. … I have had teachers tell me I would never get a scholarship or be able to play in college and coaches who have brought me down. There have been plenty of people who have made me feel less and gave me no hope, but in the end it’s the people who support you.”
Patterson called her family her biggest supporters.
“I have would not have been able to do this with out them,” she said. “My mom has went with me to the court for hours just to toss me the ball. My brother (Ethan) has played with me for hours and so has my dad (Josh). My parents have not missed one of my tennis matches in seven years. … They do everything they possibly can to help me reach my goal even when it seems impossible.
“Just remember that if you really want something, if you put in the effort, you will get it and be able to accomplish your goal no matter how impossible it may seem,” Patterson said.