Love all: Sisters bring family bond to tennis courts

Teams are like families. They count on each other, hang out together, and and come together as a team. They may not always get along, but in the end, they always have each other’s backs. The Paholek sisters have taken this concept to the next level in that the girls are both teammates and sisters.

“I started playing tennis in middle school,” senior Rachel Paholek said. “After I played volleyball, I looked for a sport that I could play in the spring. I found tennis and fell in love with it so I kept playing in high school.”

Rachel’s younger sister, sophomore Kristin Paholek, has joined her in her love of the sport.

“I started playing tennis in 7th grade because my sister started playing a few years earlier and I thought it was interesting so I tried it out,” Kristin said. “I love that it’s very fast paced and keeps me active.”

The girls have been playing together over the past two years and have helped each other improve along the way.

“Playing with Rachel has helped me get to know the team better,” Kristin said. “It’s nice to have a role model and someone to look up to and strive to be like on the same team I am on.”

Rachel enjoys playing with Kristin because she knows she can rely on and support her on the team.

“It’s fun having someone to go to every practice and match with,” Rachel said. “She is someone that I can count on to know what to do.”

Their teammates see the positive attitude that the Paholek sisters bring to the court to help their team achieve success on and off the court.

“Rachel and Kristin bring a hard working attitude and motivate everyone to do their best,” sophomore Grace Hendrix said. “They’re always helping others with things like homework, especially during advisory after we’ve missed something in class.”

Although tennis is sometimes considered an individual sport, both girls strongly believe that tennis is more about a team than a single person.

“At the high school level, tennis is definitely a team sport because all of our matches combine to determine whether our school wins or not,” Rachel said. “We encourage each other on and off the court all the time and even if we’re playing individually, we want our teammates to do well.”

Kristin has made some sacrifices for the sport but she loves the times she gets to spend with her team.

“I’ve had to give up a lot of class time,” Kristin said. “Hanging out with my team makes up for it. My favorite part of tennis is all of the bus rides because we play music and hang out all together as a team.”

Tennis coach Randy Stewart has enjoyed coaching the Paholek sisters and watching them grow as players and teammates.

“They’re both very competitive,” Stewart said. “The more balls they hit the better they become. They’ve also really opened up with their team and they’re very personable.”

The Paholek family has become involved with the girls’ success in the sport, making tennis a family event.

“My parents have to come to matches for both me and my sister so a lot of times our schedule revolves around tennis practices and matches,” Rachel said. “We make fun trips to Houston and Austin for tennis tournaments, so it’s a fun thing for us to do together.”

Tennis has had a positive impact on Rachel and Kristin and has given them memories that they will treasure forever.

“My favorite memory of tennis would have to be district tournaments with my team,” Rachel said. “It’s the end of the season and it’s fun to be motivated together and finish the season on a high note.”