Bad communication equals bad results for doubles tennis partners.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are competitors like Kari Beaulieu and Erica Beaulieu. The cohesive sisters constantly talk on the court to make sure they are ready for every exchange.
"I love playing with my sister," said Meadowdale High School senior Kari Beaulieu, who currently teams up with Erica, a sophomore, in the Mavericks' No. 2 doubles slot.
During matches, the sisters repeatedly holler directions to each other to improve their positioning. Afterward, they critique one another's performances. It gets intense sometimes, but it usually works: The Beaulieu sisters are 11-0 this season.
"The fact that she's my sister allows me to be really open with her," said Kari Beaulieu. "I don't feel uncomfortable telling her, 'You can improve on this' or 'You can improve on that.' No matter what happens, we're always going to be close.
"It's not personal," Kari Beaulieu added. "It's just part of the game."
Meadowdale tennis coach Mark Schneider said Beaulieu and her sister are one of the most in-synch duos he has ever mentored: "They're really good friends and they communicate really well on the court. In fact, their communication is some of the best I've seen on a doubles team in the 14 years I've been at Meadowdale."
Photo by Char Blakenship
Although this is just her second season playing high school tennis, Kari Beaulieu improved quickly by challenging high-caliber opponents. "I've just learned from playing against people who are better than me and learning from their techniques and mimicking what they do," she said. In particular, Beaulieu enhanced her backhand, which was once a big weakness.
Beaulieu is inexperienced but she counteracts that deficiency by hustling to get every ball. "I have a really positive attitude," she said, "and I always push myself: 'Go for it. You have nothing to lose.' I end up getting a lot of balls that people don't think I'd be able to get to."
A break from soccer
Soccer, not tennis, is Beaulieu's primary sport. The outside midfielder started playing soccer at age 8 and played three seasons on Meadowdale's varsity team. She also played select soccer for the Northwest Nationals of Edmonds. After recently playing the final select game of her career, Beaulieu is ready to move on. "I'm just looking forward -- now that soccer's over -- to play more sports," said Beaulieu, who plans to try several intramural sports, including badminton, in college.
Now that she has more free time, Beaulieu plans to learn how to play the piano. Her first priority is to learn some classic Elton John songs.
In the past year, Beaulieu volunteered more than 80 hours at the Lynnwood Food Bank. In addition, as a Link Crew leader she helped incoming freshmen transition to Meadowdale High. She is also a member of Inter-High, a district-level ASB outreach organization. She helped Inter-High organize a talent show that raised money for an Edmonds-Woodway High student diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Headed to Pullman
Beaulieu was accepted into Washington State University's honors program. Beaulieu -- who has a 3.75 cumulative grade-point average and scored 1950 on the SAT -- is especially excited to study Spanish in college.
Two of Beaulieu's favorite films are the Dr. Seuss adaptation "Horton Hears a Who!" (2008) and the holiday comedy classic "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (1989) starring Chevy Chase. Beaulieu's favorite scene in the latter movie is when wacky patriarch Clark Griswold gets trapped in the attic, puts on women's clothing to stay warm and watches heart-warming home movies.
Mike Cane, Herald Writer