Archive for Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Brazil import on rise in Braves’ tennis ranks

April 4, 2012, 8:29 p.m.

Updated: April 5, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

Bonner Springs tennis players Guilherme Pazos and George Docking were getting in some extra hits during Monday’s final match against Maranatha Academy.

At one point, Pazos threw out what seemed like a lighthearted joke.

“I’m about to challenge that guy right there,” he said pointing to Docking, Bonner’s No. 2 singles player. “He’s about to lose his crown.”

Coming from the No. 8 player at the start of the year, it almost seems laughable. But Pazos’ meteoric rise to the No. 3 slot in just two months suggests that he has some substance to his words, bold as they may be.

The development of Pazos is even more bewildering considering he had virtually no familiarity with the sport of tennis before he came to Bonner Springs.

As a foreign exchange student from Brazil, he never even picked up a racket until a couple of months ago.

That day came when his girlfriend, who also plays tennis for the Braves, asked him to practice with her.

Being adept in the art of table tennis, Pazos saw the racket as a bigger paddle and the court as a bigger table. He looked awful but had fun. When having choosing a spring sport, he decided to become reacquainted with tennis to keep himself in shape.

He started out as the No. 8 player on the Braves, but it didn’t stick. Pazos has a court near his house and went out every night to round out his game. These practices were a daily occurrence, after practices and even meets.

“You’ll see him down there from 6:00 to 10:00 at night,” coach Bill Scott said.

No one told Pazos to do it. No one needed to.

The Braves’ top two players, Docking and Spence Bush, seem to have a grip on Bonner’s top spots while Pazos is still

refining his game. It is especially difficult when he has no point of reference on how to play or practice.

“I don’t follow the rules because I didn’t play when I was a kid,” Pazos said. “Everything is new to me, so I am trying to adapt. I think I need to practice everything.”

However, his approach to the game is invigorating to watch. Even after losing both of his matches Monday, he pleasantly described his weaknesses and approach to get better.

And it seems at times that he has to pinch himself just to believe where all of his dedication had taken him.

“I’m No. 3 at Bonner,” Pazos said. “Isn’t that great?”

It’s something Scott has noticed. He hopes that it is contagious.

“All kids need to see how much he enjoys the sport,” Scott said, “because they don’t enjoy it like he does.”

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