As the college careers of senior athletes wind down, Foghorn Staff Writer, Conor Reilly gets the perspective of one graduating senior on his final season, his experience at USF, and the future. An interview with tennis player William Schumacher.
CR: You guys are coming off a pretty successful season with a good doubles run. You were able to get deep in the WCC before falling to a good team, Pepperdine. What are your thoughts on the season?
WS: This has been the most successful team effort in my career at USF. I think everyone had the right attitude from the beginning of the season. We all worked hard and really came together as a team, especially in the last few matches. We definitely had some chances to beat some highly ranked teams throughout the year and it was great to finally get that breakthrough win against Santa Clara in the conference tournament.
CR: Did you have any personal goals on the season that you accomplished? I know some people put their goals on the bathroom mirror or somewhere they always can see it. Do you do that?
WS: I personally did not have many “tangible result” kind of goals. I didn’t really approach the season with a certain number of wins I wanted, or an individual ranking. I was more concerned with trying to enjoy my last season and trying to have fun with it all before it was over.
CR: You walk off the court for good after 4 years at USF. Any plans to continue tennis in some shape or form beyond college?
WS: As far as competitive tennis goes, I think I am done, at least for a while. I don’t really have plans to play except for fun. I will be coaching and teaching some tennis this summer, but after that I am looking forward to doing something different, away from the tennis court.
CR: So I was curious as to how solo sports, such as golf and tennis, work as I’ve only played the majority team sports. Do you feed off of other peoples’ wins and losses or do you guys simply focused on your own match?
WS: I definitely think about my teammates and how they are doing during the match. It’s hard not to. Since we all play at the same time and four people have to win their individual match to get the team win, I am always hoping that they will win. With that said, it is a very different feeling than many team sports. It’s not like other sports where each person has a role as a goal scorer or defender or something like that. For each of us our role is to win our individual match. That can add some pressure especially when it comes down to your match and you are the last guy on the court and the outcome of your match decides if the team wins or loses.
CR: What’s the most fun you’ve had in your four years in the City?
WS: I have always enjoyed the nightlife in SF. Its always fun to go out with the guys on the team and friends especially after a good win.
CR: What is your biggest regret?
WS: I think my biggest regret is with tennis. In my first couple of years I think I was often so overly concerned with winning and losing that I let that take away from actually enjoying the sport. There were times when this would lead to a lack of motivation and make me not want to play. If I could do it again I would try to approach it with the aim of enjoying the sport and not be so concerned with trying to win to keep a scholarship or please teammates or coaches.
CR: Some athletes will not even touch the humanities or sciences. Why as an athlete did you pick up a major that could take time away from tennis?
WS: I have always enjoyed history. It has been something I have found fascinating from a very young age. I first tried to do something with film and media studies, but I was not enjoying it so I went back to the subject that I had enjoyed forever. As far as it taking away time from tennis, that was never a really big concern. I knew that there was always going to be a practice time everyday and was more concerned about choosing a major that I liked and something I could excel in.
CR: What are the future plans?
WS: I will be heading back home to New Orleans this summer to teach tennis. After that I am excited to be working with FEMA in disaster relief. I will be relocating to Vinton, Iowa to start the position in August. It is a very exciting opportunity to do something that I think will help a lot of people and give me a chance to create a new identity away from the tennis court, which had been such a big part of me for a long time.
CR: What do you want to say to people?
WS: I guess I want people to think of me as someone who played tennis, but not a tennis player. I want people to think tennis is a part of who I am, but not the whole thing. I want people to say that I tried to do the right things. I tried to be a good teammate and tried to help as many people I could. That’s really all I want people to talk about. As far as tennis I couldn’t care less if someone would say he was a good player or a bad player or anything in-between. I want people to talk about me for my deeds off the court.