When I made my way to breakfast this morning, there were tables filled with campers in uniform calmly and quietly having breakfast with their friends and teammates. There wasn’t a lot of discussion, but you could just sense that this was a big day. There was a lot of intercamp and trips scheduled for the day, but no event bigger than our Takajo Tennis Invitational. We participate in twelve invitationals throughout the summer and do our best to give every boy whose passion is tennis the opportunity to compete against other camps. The Takajo invitational draws the best from each camp, and our boys were ready for the challenge. Our boys fought valiantly and there were too many matches to recount.
I watched a determined nine-year-old fight with every ounce of his might in the ten-and-under singles finals, but he came up just a little short. While his play was memorable, I was even more moved by seeing how he was hugged and embraced by our sixteen-year-old tennis players when this young camper came off the court. I watched the twelve-and-under singles player methodically take apart his opponents. While he was challenged in the final, his incredible strokes and mental toughness were too much for his opponent. I witnessed our fourteen-and-under doubles team systematically and strategically outlast all comers and prevail as doubles champions.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of the tournament was watching our sixteen-and-under doubles team compete in the finals against a powerhouse team from a neighboring camp. These boys arrived at camp together eight years ago and have lived together as bunkmates throughout their camp career. They played together as doubles partners when they were nine years old, and they have always relied on one another on and off the court. These young men are humble and often understated, but their sheer grit and determination prevailed as they upset a powerful team in their final invitational at Takajo. When the final results were tallied, we lost the tournament, but the pride that I have in all of our players and coaches is something far more valuable than the win.
Meanwhile, we had a consistent breeze on Long Lake throughout the day, which made conditions perfect for our Takajo Sailing Regatta. At any point throughout the day, you could see our Sunfish, Lasers, and Hunters gliding across the water. Watching these boats in motion was beautiful to witness. Sailing requires incredible skill and strategy. As I watched our boys enter their races, I had flashbacks to many of them when they were in Warrior Camp, where they were first introduced to our sailing program. Their love of this sport is profound, and this was their opportunity to test their skills in competition. When the results were tallied, Takajo was victorious. It was the best day of sailing we’ve seen in five summers.
There were a number of other events that took place at camp today. Our twelve-and-under basketball team competed in a round-robin tournament. Our ten-and-under lacrosse team gave their best efforts in a tournament at a neighboring camp. Our Junior Greens (finished fifth grade) spent the day out of camp at Old Orchard Beach and Amusement Park, where they enjoyed swimming in the ocean as well as going on the rides in the theme park. Our Warrior Crows (finished second grade) had a fun day at Sebago Lake State Park and took in a movie before returning to camp for dinner. Today was a day packed with adventure and filled with emotion. We had our share of highs and suffered some disappointing lows. As I watched our boys in the dining room at the dinner meal, I marveled at all that had transpired throughout this day.