Sports Person of the Week
Jackson Quickly Found His Footing on the Court
In only his second year with the Morgan boys’ tennis team, Calvin Jackson became a fixture at the No. 2 doubles position this spring and notched 12 victories while competing alongside freshman Isaac Adler. (Photo courtesy of Calvin Jackson )
Calvin Jackson was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to playing high school tennis. However, as a result of his athleticism, endurance, and a desire to take on every challenge in front of him, Calvin became a key component for the Morgan boys’ tennis squad.
Calvin, who recently graduated from Morgan, formed one half of the Huskies’ No. 2 doubles tandem this spring. Calvin played soccer at Morgan for four years and also joined the indoor track team as a junior. He then decided to test his mettle on the tennis court during his junior year.
In recent his senior season, Calvin partnered up with freshman Isaac Adler, and the duo posted a record of 12-3 for the Huskies. Calvin helped Head Coach Chris Zawadski’s club finish with a mark of 14-4 on the year.
“I’ve had great coaching by Coach Zawadski. He says he prefers to get new guys from other sports, because it makes learning tennis easy,” says Calvin. “I always liked tennis and picked it up pretty easy. The biggest thing for me was learning how to hit the ball consistently. Some guys hit it like a baseball, and it’s easier to get down flow after you get consistency. From there, it’s about picking up movement to the ball and then slicing.”
Calvin walked into a program that already had several players who were firmly entrenched in the lineup. After playing competitive matches against his teammates in practice, Calvin gained confidence that helped him keep cool during the heat of battle.
“My first year, I did pretty good for someone who was new on the team, but we had guys in spots on the team, so I had few matches,” Calvin says. “This year, it was about getting in the groove of playing matches. We typically do practice matches with guys of the similar skill level facing each other, which helped in taking the nerves away for competition.”
While Calvin enjoyed competing on the doubles circuit, he still felt a lot of personal responsibility when it came to being locked in and staying levelheaded every time the ball bounced in his direction.
“It’s a weird sport since you’re without a referee. You have to pay attention and call out your own points and when the ball is in or out,” says Calvin. “Every point is on you. You can’t pass the ball to someone else. You also can’t rely on someone else like other sports.”
Calvin served as a captain for the Morgan boys’ soccer team as a senior. Calvin used what he learned from that experience to help the younger Huskies learn the ropes on the court this spring, including a doubles partner who was in the same situation he was last year.
“I was a captain for soccer, so it gave me insight on how to mentor,” says Calvin, who helped Morgan soccer claim a pair of Shoreline Conference titles and a Class S state championship during his tenure. “Isaac was getting the grasp of the sport, so he looked up to me and saw my confidence after having only one year of prior experience. I tell the younger guys to just keep playing to help get away from any nerves they have.”
Coach Zawadski praises Calvin for how he went to great lengths to help out the Huskies. Zawadski was especially impressed with the guidance that Calvin provided for his freshman colleague.
“Calvin is a natural leader. Last year, he played a mix of singles and doubles—wherever we needed him—and never complained,” says Zawadski. “As a senior, he did a great job of taking Isaac under his wing. He relished the role of playing the mentor. He helped Isaac bring more passion and competitiveness to the court. Calvin had a very successful two years with Morgan tennis, and his winning attitude will be greatly missed.”
Calvin notes that his relationship with Zawadski was born out of the classroom. After that, Calvin developed strong bonds with everyone on the squad in a short period of time.
“Partly the reason I played tennis was from Coach Zawadski. He was my Advanced Placement U.S. Government teacher, and he was one of the best guys I could’ve met,” Calvin says. “It’s a small school, but I was friends with many guys on the team already, because they were also multi-sport athletes. The guys made it really easy to bond as a team.”