It is not easy to be a student-athlete who has step up and play a significant role on a varsity level as a freshman.
James Rodriguez was not a typical freshman. From the day he joined the C.B. Aycock boys’ tennis team, he was mentally and physically prepared for a significant role on the team.
Since his freshman year, Rodriguez has played in the No.1 singles spot, and over the past four years, he has developed into a catalyst and leader for the Golden Falcons.
Rodriguez said it took some time to truly realize he belonged on the court, but he got better every season through hard work and determination.
“I’m playing matches all the time, so I’m kind of get use to the pressure,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve gotten more pressure on me as I’ve moved up, but I’m trying to get used to it more and more.”
With only four players on the tennis team this year, Rodriguez has stepped into a leadership role for the Golden Falcons. Rodriguez is always willing to help out his teammates.
He gravitated to tennis in middle school. After he saw a friend play tennis, Rodriguez decided to give the sport a shot.
Over the years, he fine-tuned his skills and learned how to play the game.
“I used to play soccer through my childhood, but after I saw him play, I decided to switch sports, and I’ve loved it ever since,” Rodriguez said.
As Rodriguez embraced the prime opportunity he had as a freshman, he remembered to have fun and trust what got him there. He acknowledged he was nervous the first few games, but after that, it was simply tennis – the sport he has grown to love.
“Freshman year was never-wracking. Sophomore and junior year, I was more loose because no one was relying on too much, but I was still expected to do pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “This year, I feel really tight because everyone is relying on me a lot.”
Rodriguez, who committed to Barton College to play tennis, said he is honored to be a leader on the team, and he prides himself on being a leader.
He added that this season was unlike any other for many reasons, but despite the season’s up and downs, he is glad to have gotten in one last season as a Golden Falcon.
“It’s been great that team is super fun to joke around with,” Rodriguez said. “Even with four people, we always have fun on the bus rides.
“It’s a very good environment for everyone.”