Ninth-grader, Isabella Haddad, was the assistant manager on the Perkiomen Valley High School girls tennis team this past fall season. Haddad has always loved playing sports, but being a part of the girls’ tennis team was a huge goal of hers.
As an assistant manager, she was responsible for tasks such as helping get equipment out of the shed, setting up the courts with scorecards on match days, wiping down all equipment, and gathering the scorecards after the matches are over. Haddad left a lasting impact on the team and her uplifting spirit brought the team together.
“Bella has a very bubbly and friendly personality, she is always happy and makes the people around her smile. She always cheered on the team and would get everyone excited for our matches,” PV junior Carly Sudar, one of Haddad’s teammates, said.
Haddad joined the team because she wanted to get involved with the PVHS sports community and make an impact on the special education department. “I wanted to join the tennis team so I could meet new people and classmates,” Haddad explained.
Haddad accomplished some personal goals this fall, such as hitting 20 tennis balls of forehand and backhand groundstrokes over the net in one 15 minute session. Her accomplishments and spirit spread to the rest of the team too.
Junior Hannah Cox said, “she got everyone excited before our matches.”
Haddad stays motivated with the help of her teachers, and her 1:1 paraprofessional (and the PV girls tennis coach) Mrs. Dixon who has worked with Haddad since 6th grade. Now that Dixon is her coach and paraprofessional, Haddad’s love for tennis has intensified.
“I just want to have real fun so I like to try doing my best at everything. My teachers and Mrs. Dixon help to motivate me during the day at school,” Haddad said. Though she cites “having fun” as a main source of motivation.
Haddad is incredibly familiar with achieving her goals as she works hard to do her best in school and on the tennis team.
“Bella has awesome team spirit and she watches the matches to better learn the details of tennis and cheer for her teammates,” Dixon said.
Dixon is there to help when needed and pushes Haddad to do her best. Haddad does face some challenges but she always perseveres and tries to look at the positive side of things.
“When it’s hard, I do my best. I sometimes get sad when it’s too hard, but I just watch and listen and ask for help if I am confused,” Haddad said.
Along with bonding with teammates and coaches, game rituals and team cheers are a fun way of interacting with teammates and bringing positive energy into the atmosphere. COVID-19 has changed some of the normal chants and group activities, but Haddad explains how they continued some of the traditions.
“I liked hanging out with the tennis girls at practices and matches, talking and taking their scores. I was a little sister to a big sister, Hannah, as part of the team ritual. I loved playing tennis games with the girls on court and having fun with Mrs. Dixon,” she said, “I want to do tennis camp in the future to get better at tennis and be better friends with the girls.”
Haddad’s personality and spirit are essential to her performance and her mindset. She is always boosting the enthusiasm of the team by staying as positive as she can with the help of her coach and 1:1 para, Dixon.
“[Being the girls tennis manager] is an awesome accomplishment for her and [she] hopes to build on it in the years to come!” Dixon says.
Photo: Isabella Ewing