Sports

Men’s Tennis was ‘Like a Family’

by Laurent Ruttkowski

Senior Andres Biondi is about to graduate this fall, after having four successful years at Eastern Nazarene College. Biondi was born in Venezuela and before coming to Eastern, he spent one and a half years in Canada to learn English. He has been part of the college’s tennis team, which made college a special time for him. “Being part of the tennis team was an amazing experience for me,” Biondi stated.

On May 7 2017, the men’s tennis team prepared for the playoff finals for the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Before the match, the team stood in a circle while Biondi delivered a motivational speech followed by a prayer for the team. As he spoke, tears came out of his eyes–it was his last match with the college, his team, and his coach.

Tennis shaped Biondi’s character. Being part of a small team of eight to twelve guys helped him to create many deep friendships at Eastern Nazarene. “Everybody is helping and supporting each other. The tennis team is like a family for me,” Biondi explained.

Biondi went on several spring break trips with the tennis team to Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Tampa Bay, Florida. The first two trips Biondi took consisted of a 16-hour van ride. Biondi says, “I spent one week under the same roof with my teammates.” Despite his description of the trips as being “sometimes a bit messy,” they have always been positive experiences. With his teammates, he played tennis, went to the beach, and created relationships with students from other schools all over the U.S.

A special person for Biondi during these four years was his coach, Cris Popa. “When I came here, Coach helped me a lot. He helped me with getting adapted to the American environment, and showed me how things work here and he was always there for me.”

In his last season, he was named the “Senior Scholar Athlete” of the conference. College athletics helped him prepare immensely for his future. Biondi explained, “I learned to deal with different opinions, ideas, and cultures. Also, I could create a great sense of time management because it was tough to handle school, tennis, and work at the same time. This will help me in my future career.”

The next step for Biondi is graduate school. His dream school is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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