Those of you who had the immense privilege of witnessing Shaquille O’Neil’s short-lived reality TV show “Shaq Vs.” in 2009 know all about his mediocrely-funny attempts to beat famous athletes at their own sports. Personally, not many things on this earth gave me more pleasure than watching Shaq flop around in an Olympic-sized pool while Michael Phelps swam rings around him. Since this concept was so intriguing to me, I have decided to adapt Shaq’s idea for K College and test my own luck against the best Hornet athletes in their own sports in my new, creatively titled column “Spencer Vs.”
It was not a difficult choice when selecting the first athlete whom I would face. Not many athletes in the country have had more success in their sport than Sarah Woods has for the Kalamazoo Women’s tennis team. In her first two seasons, she has amassed a multitude of awards including two All-MIAA selections, two MIAA MVPs, two All-American selections, and an appearance in the Elite Eight at the NCAA National Championships. Luckily for me, I took tennis lessons from age’s five through eight, so I was feeling more than up to the challenge.
So on a frigid February night, I met Sarah at the Markin Indoor Tennis facilities to see if she had what it takes to win the Spencer Vs. challenge. After warming up with my power serve and my signature “drop shot” that Roger Federer likes to think that he coined, I was feeling optimistic about my chances.
This feeling ended about five seconds into the match when Sarah let loose her first serve.
Now, let me tell you that these serves look slower from up high in the tennis stands than they do barreling down on you at 85 miles an hour. I didn’t even have time to raise my racket before the yellow ball went whizzing by my left ear. After Sarah dispatched me in the first game on four straight aces, I came to the conclusion that trying to stay in front of her serves was similar to trying to stay in front of a freight train—you may be able to do it for a few seconds, but sooner or later your going to jump out of the way.
When it was my turn to serve, I felt as though I at least now had the chance to put together a few nice rallies. This was not at all the case. Sarah covered so much of the court that I felt as if I was playing against both Williams’ sisters at once, or maybe even two of Serena. Anyways, Sarah beat me three games to zero in a truly dominating performance. I don’t know if I have ever been that outmatched in an athletic contest but I have a feeling that it will not be the last time as I continue with Spencer Vs.