Written by: Victor Hoang
***Victor Hoang who has a Vietnamese background is a Canadian tennis player. Champion of many national and ITF events, such as 2009 Canadian U18 ITF Junior world ranking event, 2010 28TH All Canadian ITF junior Championships and others, throughout his careers so far he has been able to become #4 in Canada U14, #2 in Canada U16, #3 in Canada Under 18.
Victor is currently searching for a US scholarship, and ONcourt thought it would be lots of fun to follow him in his journeys and share them with our dear readers.***
Recently I went on my second recruiting trip to the University of Arkansas. When I landed at regional airport in the city of Fayetteville, it was obvious that the state of Arkansas is Razorback-nation.Upon my arrival I was driven over to the tennis facility by a man who has driven stars such as Denzel Washington, Katy Perry, and Canada’s hero Justin Bieber. Yes ladies be jealous, I indirectly touched Justin Bieber, because I shook the hand of a man who shook Bieber’s hand.
The drive over was pretty awkward. The man wasn’t too social and I couldn’t think of anymore questions to ask him, so I spent most of the time looking out the window. The one thing that was really concerning was the amount of corn and potato fields I saw. I mean where are the rice fields?! Species like myself thrive off of rice. It’s really tough to function without my daily intake of rice. I turned to the driver and asked him “are there many Asians in this area or in the school” The driver replies “There aren’t many Asian people living here, but you’ll find many in the school, usually in the engineering department”. Well that was a big surprise, I thought I’d find them in the creative writing department.
Anyways my first day in Arkansas was basic. I met with the team, got a tour of the facility, and watched them play their match against University of Iowa. All of the players on the team were very nice and treated me real well. The facility was unbelievable, I was told it was amongst the top 10 facilities in the NCAA. The support that the tennis team receives is incredible. Against Iowa about 200 people showed up, which was pretty crazy considering the fact that Iowa is not a rival of Arkansas nor a team in their conference. I was told that when they play a rival such as Texas, they have a turn up of about 500 people, which may not be a lot for professional tennis, but for college tennis, that’s really good. So after the match they took me out for dinner, and then checked me into the hotel. Let me tell you, this hotel is one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed in. I believe the cost for one night was about 300$. The interior design was very old school. It was decorated in a way such that you felt that you were living in a home from 1950?s. The room was huge, and it had a ginormous flat screen t.v. The only thing I didn’t like about the room was a painting on the wall. It was a portrait of a lady who was a professor at the University of Arkansas in the late 1800?s or early 1900?s. Let me tell you it was one scary looking portrait. There was a nice long description of who the lady was, but I was too afraid to stand there and stare at the picture, because I felt that if I looked at the picture long enough, the lady would either wink at me or something like her face would move. After seeing that picture my brain started to play some tricks on me, and I started to get pretty freaked out. So for the two nights that I stayed there, I had to sleep with the lights on and with the t.v on, or else I would drive myself crazy with these stupid thoughts.
The second day there, some of the guys took me to a basketball game. Although the team is struggling this season, the atmosphere was unbelievable. The whole place was packed and people were going crazy for their Razorbacks. The game wasn’t too entertaining because they blew the other team out, The half time show was quite entertaining. There were a couple of dudes out there jumping off trampolines and doing some acrobatic dunks. It was quite an easy day, nothing too dramatic.
All in all I had a great time at Arkansas. The coaching staff were great, and I seemed to connect real well with the team. I do have an offer from them, and it’s a decent one so I’m just holding on to that. I have a little more time to make my decision and I will still be going on visits to Auburn and Iowa. I must say, it’s been a fun but stressful process, I think I’ve even grown a couple of grey hairs here and there. Soon enough I’ll have hair like Pierre, which is little to none at all!
Until next time!