Every year about this time, I ponder what kind of young man Peter Sunseri would have grown up to be.
Sadly, though, a drunken driver selfishly cheated Peter of living out dreams he had hoped to achieve.
Peter was only 16 years young when tragedy struck, ironically just yards away from a place he called his second home — the tennis courts.
I had the privilege of coaching Peter at O’Connell High School in 1985 when he doubled-up with childhood friend Jimmy Bacon and reached the state quarterfinals, both as freshmen. Peter transferred to Ball High the following year but remained close with his former teammates and coach.
In fact, the last time I saw Peter, he came out to the Galveston Racquet Club to cheer on his ex-Bucs, who were hosting the state tournament.
That infectious smile Peter gave as he passed me is one I always will remember and cherish.
But it was that same smile Peter wore each and every time he stepped on the courts.
Peter was far from being the next phenom at the next level. He was just your average to below-average high school tennis player who loved playing the game and, most importantly, sharing in the fun with his teammates.
Peter was truly the true definition of a team player. Individual accomplishments meant nothing to him. But team accolades meant the world to him.
That is why today eight schools, including locals Ball High and Santa Fe, are competing in the Peter Andrew Sunseri Memorial Team Tennis Tournament, held in his honor.
Once again, winning takes a back seat to the real objective of the tournament — players participating as a team in a so-called individual sport.
Just for a day, each is reliving Peter’s fondest moments.
No doubt, Peter would have loved the format and would have been proud, whether his team walked away with a first-place trophy or none at all.
Win or lose, Peter would leave the courts like he always did, with a big smile.
I just wish it was one smile we all could see and savor just one more time.