Sept. 29, 2010
Northwest's Patterson Ready for ITA
By David Boyce
The wind blows in Maryville. It's a weather element junior Calvin Patterson quickly learned when he brought his tennis game from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to Northwest Missouri State.
"I was definitely used to playing in colder weather coming from Canada, but the wind was a big change," said Patterson. "It could be one of the reasons why my freshman year was so tough. You adjust to it and adapt to it.
"You learn how to use it to your advantage, especially when you play schools coming here to play who aren't used to the wind. They are thrown off by it. It definitely took awhile to get used to, but it is all part of the game in Maryville."
Odds are fairly high that the winds will gust to at least 15 miles per hour one of the three days for the 13-team ITA Regional men's tournament at Northwest. Action begins Friday and concludes Sunday.
Many of the matches will be on the refurbished courts near the dormitories. The courts have been nicely resurfaced to the point that puddles that once formed after a soaking rain have been corrected.
Patterson also likes what he sees in the courts by the dorms and how they compliment the courts by the athletic facility.
"They look great," Patterson said. "It definitely adds a good element to our tennis program. The four courts down at the center of campus are beautiful and now the courts by the dorms are just as nice. It's great to have 10 high-quality courts here."
This will be the last competition for the Bearcats this fall. Patterson, who plays No. 2 singles for Northwest, has had a strong fall.
He went 4-0 last weekend at the Truman Tennis Tournament, losing just four games in his matches.
Since he arrived at Northwest, Patterson has made a steady climb, going from No. 5 and No. 6 singles as a freshman to No. 4 last year to No. 2 this year behind senior Malcolm Harrison.
"He is a guy who has improved tremendously since he got here," head coach Mark Rosewell said.
"I think of anybody on the team, he has improved the most. He works hard. He's always out playing, doing work in the weight room and playing tournaments in the summer. He's doing everything he is supposed to do."
Patterson came to Northwest with a basic goal that most student-athletes should have.
"My goal was simply to help the team out as much as possible and to have a great four-year college career," he said.
Patterson quickly learned that was going to require plenty of work. The competition level in NCAA Division II was quite high with so many top-notch players from around the world filling out rosters.
"When I got here it was a little bit of a wake-up call. The harder you work the more success and good results you are going to have. That's basically what it boiled down to. If you put the time in you are going to get the results you want."
Tennis is as much mental as it is physical. You have to believe in your shots even when the shots are not going in.
Hitting the ball regularly and being in top physical form helps shape the mental process in a tough match. Patterson knows this well. It's why he puts in the work.
"The big part of the mental game is confidence. You get in a close match and you miss a certain shot a couple of times. When you go for the shot again, do you have the confidence to go for it and trust that shot or are you going to be a little tentative?"
"Once you get slightly tentative in the game of tennis then you are done. It is really hard to play then. You have to trust and have confidence in your shots and keep going for them. You have to trust in yourself and things will start to go your way eventually."
A five-minute conversation with Patterson about playing for Northwest is all you need to understand how much he is savoring his time in Maryville.
"It gives you a sense of purpose for being here other than the fact of getting a good education. You feel like you are more a part of the school if you are an athlete.
"You have the school name on your body when you are playing and you are trying to represent the school the best you can, especially when you are traveling. You are taking part of the school with you."
The other benefit about playing college tennis is having teammates from all over the world.
Northwest's roster is composed of a player from Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Kansas City and Iowa.
"It's great to meet so many new people from so many different parts of the world. It's a cultural experience more than anything else," Patterson said.
David Boyce spent more than 20 years covering high school and small college athletics at the Kansas City Star newspaper in Missouri. He's covered six of Northwest Missouri State's seven national championship football games and recently served as a guest columnist for the MIAA.
Boyce was named KIAAA Sportswriter of the Year in 1994. He covered boxing at the Star from 1991-2004 including Tommy Morrison and worked both championship fights between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. His 1997 exclusive story on Morrison becoming HIV positive was named an Associated Press Sports Editor top 10 feature for papers serving more than 150,000.
Boyce was born in New York City and was raised in Kansas City, Kan. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1988 with a degree in journalism. He is currently one of three official scorers for the Kansas City Royals and is a contributing writer for the Royals Gameday magazine.
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