Dream Big: Motivation from Back Home

April 26, 2005

There may be no player who is more motivated heading into the 2005 Big Ten Conference Women's Tennis Championships then University of Michigan sophomore Kara Delicata.

In her freshman campaign of 2003-04, Delicata went 17-8 in singles play and 26-14 in doubles action. This season has been a challenge for the sophomore and the entire Maize and Blue squad after they finished the regular season 11-10 and 6-4 in the league.

"We had a really rough start at the beginning of the season just being able to pull it all together," Delicata explained. "We are a very talented team; it just took us awhile to put it all together. We had a very tough out-of-conference schedule this year, and I definitely think that has helped us with the Big Ten season."

Delicata has drawn her inspiration from many sources such as her idols Monica Seles and Andre Agassi, but it is a family member that has helped her get to where she is today. Delicata's younger sister, Jordan, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when she was young and has been one of the biggest influences in Kara's life and tennis career.

"Without my sister, I don't know if I would have made it as far as I have," Delicata said. "When I was younger, she really helped me see how lucky I was to be able to play tennis at such a high level because she can't do any of that. She's a huge motivator for me."

After placing third at the Canadian National Championships in her freshman year at Sandwich Secondary in LaSalle, Ontario, Delicata made what she says was the easy decision to attend Michigan in the fall of 2003.

"I just knew it was the place for me," the sophomore said. "Michigan was my first visit, and I knew from the moment I stepped on campus that I wanted to come here. I love the combination of athletics and academics here, and the school spirit is amazing. An important factor for me was that it was so close to home for me, which was great because I'm really close to my family."

While she may not be able to visit everyday, Delicata makes sure to always call home to talk with her sister.

"I call her everyday as soon as she gets home from school, sometimes before she goes to bed depending on my schedule for the day. Children with Cerebral Palsy are very routine-oriented, so it's important for me to do that for her every day because it's what she's used to."

Getting used to college and was a new experience for Delicata when she arrived in Ann Arbor. Delicata had been on traveling teams for years but found that living away from home permanently was a new challenge.

"I had to learn how to clean up after myself and that no one was going to be there to tell me what needed to be done anymore," Delicata said. "I had to learn to be tolerant of others, and to see their point of view rather than just my own."

The Ontario native has also learned to see the point of view of her coaches who have helped her game and personal life reach new and successful levels.

"I think that I'm in a very good place this year both academically and athletically," Delicata added. "I feel like I've grown so much since my freshman year, and I've learned so much from my coaches and my teammates that has helped since I've been here."

While Delicata has learned on the court and in the classroom, it is in life and from Jordan where she has learned the most.

"I think I've learned how to appreciate the little things from her (Jordan) and to love life," said Delicata. "She has a great ability for making people smile. I don't know if she's learned anything from me, I hope she has, I think for the most part, I've learned a lot more in my life from her, than she has from me."

Delicata will enter the Big Ten championships with her sister in her thoughts and will walk off the court when she is done with a phone call to make to Jordan back home.