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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Catalin Mateas
Blue Devils in Paradise: Day 3
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/09/2017
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During each day of the men's tennis team's trip to Hawai'i, a member of the Blue Devil squad will offer his thoughts on the experiences. Day three features sophomore Catalin Mateas recapping Sunday. 

There is definitely no better way to wake up than to the spectacular view of Hawaii’s beaches, filled with people surfing and paddle-boarding. Today we got to 'sleep in,' waking up at 7 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. like the previous days. I can’t complain, however, because we had one of the best breakfast meals we’ve ever had. The breakfast buffet was huge, and filled with amazing fresh fruit and a variety of food and juices. Before starting our meal, we were greeted by the waitress and offered a lei necklace. It was made up of beautiful Hawaiian flowers, and each one of the guys got one. After we all got “leid,” (term for placing lei necklace around our neck) as the waitress called it, we were ready to dig into our meal. I think every guy had at least three plates of food. Once everyone was done, we were ready to head to practice.

Team practice was great as always. We did a lot of point playing today to prepare for our competition against Hawai'i tomorrow (8 p.m. ET), and all the guys felt great.



We had a mix of singles and doubles and ended with a great stretching session led by Coach [Dan] P[erlmutter]. The end of practice meant getting our bags back into the van and heading to a quick lunch before going to the activity that every guy was really looking forward to for today - the rope course.

Driving to the other side of the island, we got to see some pretty amazing sights. The mountains on one side are spectacular, and to our other side we could see the monstrous waves of the North Shore. After about an hour of driving, we reached the rope course.

At first, the obstacles did not look at all intimidating. There was a large structure with two levels, one about 25 feet above the ground, and the other about 40 feet up. I think everyone had the idea that we would be able to just fly through the course, but we were extremely wrong. The activities we did were very challenging, and required tons of balance and strength.

The course was similar to one that I did last year at a Leadership Retreat, but much more challenging. Every guy ended up falling and we were pretty bruised up at the end, but it was so worth it. The fact that we had to rely on a teammate for balance and getting across thin metal wires made it feel like our lives were literally in our teammates' hands. The activity definitely helped build a ton of trust and it was great that our three coaches and Dr. [Greg] Dale joined us throughout the course. This was by far one of the most challenging, yet bonding, activities I’ve ever done.

After about three hours of being up in the air, you cannot imagine how good it felt to finally touch solid ground again. We finished with a bit of zip lining, and were ready to head back to our hotel for dinner.

We had dinner at a restaurant called Hula Grill, which had an awesome Hawaiian environment. There was outside seating, live music and great conversation. We all ate a variety of food, including steaks and fish. The food was delicious and the perfect meal to end an amazing day.

I, like all my other teammates, am pretty exhausted and finally laying down after a long day. [head coach] Ramsey [Smith] had some mercy on us and cancelled morning practice, giving us a change to take care of our bodies and prepare for our 3 p.m. match. I’m fired up for our first matches of the season, and can’t wait to battle alongside my teammates.