Noah Yablong played doubles with Steve Baldwin at the 2012 World Team Cup.
By Noah Yablong, special to USTA.com
Today is now Day 4 of competition for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Overall this has been an awesome experience, both on and off the court. Training every day leading up to the first round of matches yesterday was great. The weather has been surprisingly good, never having to stop matches due to rain.
The food here has been awesome! The selection every meal is absolutely massive. The food area reminds me of my high school cafeteria, just on a much, grander scale. There are 4 main areas to get food including the Europe and American lines, the Asian and Indian Lines, the Caribbean and Halal lines and the British Line. There is also a McDonald’s inside, but I try to eat there as little as possible. My favorite section so far has been the Asian and Indian lines; the meats there tend to be the best in my opinion.
For me, the highest point of this whole trip has been the last couple of days. My family and girlfriend all arrived on the 31st, which was great. After dating for almost 3 years, I decided to propose to my girlfriend here in London. I figured there wouldn’t be a more special or memorable time in the near future where I could do it. So now I am happily engaged with my fiancé, and we have spent the days together when I am not playing. Having things work out the way they did has been great. This year is by far the best of my life: I graduated college in May, made it to the Paralympic Games, and got engaged!
Yesterday was my first ever Paralympic match. My opponent was from Nigeria. I unfortunately lost the match, but still enjoyed the experience. I was not on a show court, so I didn’t have a massive crowd. Yet, having my coach, my family, my fiancé, team USA coaches, and the few other team USA families there to watch was great. It would have been nice to win, but losing is just another part of learning. I hope to come back to the games in the future and perform better. In the meantime, however, my partner and I play doubles today against two Swedish players. It will be a tough match for sure, but I know my partner and I will both give it everything we’ve got.
Hopefully over the coming days, I will get the chance to venture out to see some of the other sports. I would like to go watch the USA Wheelchair Basketball teams compete as I know a few of the players on the men’s and women’s teams from when I played junior ball up until I left for college. Although, basketball seems to be one of the most popular sports for people to watch so it may be tough for me to get in to see. Hopefully everything will work out. Either way, this experience has been so awesome for me. Never having been to a the Paralympics before and having all the other things in my life start coming together, I’m not sure how this year could’ve gone much better.