What did you enjoy about this project?
Learning about the history of something you are involved with is always more meaningful. Being a tennis player here at Trinity, I enjoyed talking with some of the many great players that left their mark on not only Trinity history, but the world of tennis as well. I can better appreciate the team and school I play for, recognizing the successful program that started it all. It is because of these players that I get to play college tennis for such a well-known tennis school and that is a privilege I will not easily forget. Talking with the players and coaches from the 1970’s to now has helped me learn about their experiences and have a better understanding of the history that is behind my team.
What surprised you about this project?
I knew Trinity was well known for its tennis program, but I had no idea just how big the sport was for the school at the time. Listening to the players and coaches talk in their interviews about the time and their experiences helped me gain a better understanding of what it was like to play for Trinity. They repeatedly described how tennis was the main sport and that was unique in the college world. Usually football or basketball took that role, but not at Trinity at the time they were Division I. They received tremendous support from the faculty, students, and tennis-lovers in the surrounding community. I didn’t realize just how big and successful the program was. Teams included Grand Slam Champions, NCAA championships, and All-Americans, which is a testament to prestigious history of this program.
What was the most challenging aspect of the project, and how did you manage it?
While this was a rewarding project, it did come with its challenges. Since it was such an involved project and had to be broken up into different segments, I had to find small amounts of time to dedicate to the project. It was hard to accomplish a lot in small time period so I had to be strategic about planning to work on it and set aside time to work on it. Also, it was difficult to collect information on my project. Like mentioned below, interviews were my most beneficial source of information as there was not much on the internet that I could use. Trinity was my main source of information and I had to do a lot of digging through old newspaper articles in The Trinitonian and in the school yearbook, The Mirage.
If you could start over, what would you do differently?
The interviews turned out to be the best contributing factor to my project. Interviewing more players and coaches would have been more beneficial in order to add another level to the story I am telling. The more interviews I recorded, the better I was able to understand the time period and events of the time. I really enjoyed hearing from so many different people and I would have added more interviews, especially more women.
What did you learn about history and/or the historical process through this project?
Researching and learning about history takes time. It is an involved process that includes a lot of work. In order to write about a time period you must first thoroughly understand it and in order to understand it, you must put a lot of time and effort into the research process. It is important to be open-minded in the chance that what you once thought proves false through the research process. You have to be open to changing your opinion and excluding bias as much as possible.
What did you learn through this project that can be applied to life outside the classroom?
The importance of breaking up a large project into smaller sections and working on each section at a time proved immensely helpful in the project and is something I will take with me moving forward. It is so easy to leave work until the last minute, but with a big project like this one, working ahead and setting smaller, more spread out deadlines for myself helped with the process. I now have more information and a better understanding of the project and what needed to be done upon completion. Being able to learn how much easier breaking big projects up into smaller pieces is now will help me when faced with a bigger challenge in the future.