April 17, 2007
By Paige Keffer
John Pettit, a senior on the California men's tennis team, has found strength in the camaraderie of his teammates during his four-year tenure of being a Golden Bear.
Later this spring when Pettit graduates from Cal, he will reflect on what he will miss most about Cal Athletics.
"The guys on the team," Pettit said. "The camaraderie of being out there together everyday and playing for someone other than just myself is what I will miss the most."
Four years ago, Pettit was choosing between strong academic schools, Princeton and Cal. Pettit says what made the difference was Cal itself. Although he is a local kid, growing up in Monterey, the real draw was the athletic tradition. A tradition that Pettit says may be hard to enjoy while you're at Cal.
"It's hard to do while you're here and you really don't do it till it (your career) is over but try to realize how special Cal is," Pettit said, "We had the senior banquet a few days ago and looking at all the athletic alum at the Big C Society, you could really see how much they care and how special they consider their time here."
But Pettit isn't looking back on his career quite yet. With one week left in the season, and a match against Pac-10 rival Stanford, Pettit wants to end his senior season on a positive note. A win against the Cardinal would not be his first.
"My proudest moment would be when we beat Stanford my freshman year," Pettit said, "We had a rough season that year, didn't win too many matches and Stanford was ranked sixth. We came in as the underdogs and I ended up playing the deciding doubles match. We were up, then let them back in, then we ended up winning a tiebreaker. Everyone was on our court yelling `Go Bears!' And we beat them."
With the help of the people behind the "Go Bears" chants, Pettit has overcome adversity to become one of Cal's top players. In the 2005-2006 season, he held a five-match winning streak in doubles with fellow senior Daniel Sebescen. In the fall of 2006, Pettit and sophomore Geoff Chizever tallied an impressive 5-2 doubles record.
Pettit's achievements aren't limited to the court, either. A business major, Pettit plans to pursue a career in sports management, beginning with an internship this summer with Octagon, a sports and event management company located just outside of Washington, D.C. Last season, Pettit received first team Pac-10 All Academic honors and currently boasts a GPA of 3.44.
Beyond the glamour of sports and pressures of school, Pettit savors time with his teammates. His favorite memory, he says, isn't one in particular.
"I live with three teammates," Pettit said, "And being with the guys all the time, I'm really going to miss that. Everyone is moving out of the house, so it's kind of the end of an era, so it's a little sad."
Pettit, Sebescen and Tyler Browne will compete in their last regular-season match for Cal down on The Farm against the Cardinal this Saturday at noon. With a win against Stanford, the trio hopes to continue their season into the NCAA West Regionals.