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Tennis MVP Blake Warnken

Sometimes Being the Most Valuable Isn't Always About Winning

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Tennis MVP Blake Warnken

Shane Sellers

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He walked out onto the court, being neither a stud athlete nor a great player. He was more than that.

He would get the team huddled up to encourage them before a match, read the lineup, and pump up all 12 guys out on the court to get a win. He would often be losing, but would find joy in seeing his team go out there and fight with as much effort and integrity as he does every time he laces his shoes up to walk out onto that tennis court.

There was a definite team leader beginning to shape the team, and they all embodied his work ethic. The 2018 L’Anse Creuse High School- North’s boy’s tennis team was not great by any statistical measure. The one thing they were good at was following the lead of team captain and now-named MVP, Blake Warnken, ‘20.

“Sophomore year I joined the team,” said Warnken. “Gavin and you (Shane Sellers) have been playing for years. I just wanted to be with my friends.” He held the position of three doubles on varsity his first year. Impressive, considering, “[I had] no prior experience besides the first three weeks of practice.” The only way to judge Warnken was based off his skill. What most did not realize was that his most valuable asset had nothing to do with how he played.

His first year of playing went uneventfully. There was no freshman on the team, so Warnken was considered the team rookie. He kept his mouth shut, and let the seniors do most of the talking.

Now in his junior year, things changed. Warnken felt at home in his second year of playing. The seniors were gone, and the team needed a new leader. Warnken stepped up when the team needed someone to step up the most. He was named team captain by the second match of the year by Coach John Broder. “Taking charge of the team taught me how to be a better role model,” Warnken stated about being captain. His record did not exactly mimic that of your typical team leader.

Warnken played one doubles his junior year. He really felt out of place, but accepted the role, knowing things could only get better in the years to come, and this was some great experience to play with better players. “I thought I played ok; we went 2-12.”

The team’s record was not much different. The best record was 8-6. So when the awards banquet rolled around at the end of the season, everyone on the team knew that the most coveted award of Most Valuable Player was up for grabs.

Coach Broder announced it was time to name the MVP. When he read the name, everyone was shocked. Newcomer Blake Warnken, with the worst record on the team, had won the award. His team-first attitude had paid off.

He took the podium, and said, “I can’t believe it. I’m stunned. I feel like it just proves that being a team leader is sometimes more valuable than your overall record.”

 

 

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Tennis MVP Blake Warnken