If fourth-grader Becky Watson was nervous entering her first match of the season, the emerging superstar didn’t show it.
“It wasn’t a big deal,” Watson said with a humility that has become part of her persona. “Is this going to be in the newspaper?”
Watson defeated perennial contender, Dusty Higgins, 3 sets to 1 during second recess at Coma Unified School on Wednesday afternoon in a hotly contested match that featured the taller Watson utilizing her reach advantage to take the final three sets after dropping the first.
“Shit just got so real in there,” recess monitor Heather Beaucraft said. Beaucraft, who officiated the match, said she was surprised at Watson’s skill so early in the season. “At first, it was like the shit wasn’t real at all, like it was pretend or something. Then suddenly, shit got real.”
Beaucraft said she was impressed by such skilled play so early in the season, particularly the efforts of Watson.
“It’s only January and you’re already bringing your A-game? Gonna be a long year for players in the yard if she’s stepping up like that already,” Beaucraft said. “Imagine how real that shits gonna be come May?”
The match got off to a controversial start when Watson was called for a double hit early in the first set. Soon after, she committed another unintentional foul when she stepped off sides. Both penalties gave Higgins the opening he needed to win the first set. Watson appeared to settle down after that and made quick work of Higgins over the next three sets.
Watson clearly benefitted from the nearly three-inch growth spurt she experienced over the summer. Many students were in disbelief when the gangly ten-year-old returned to class last fall.
“I thought she was a giant or something when I first seen her,” Mitch Pelfry, a classmate of Watson, said. “I kept calling her Optimus Prime all day because he’s in a movie and he’s really big like a giant made of metal.”
While the fourth-grade tetherball season is just getting underway, it is not hard to envision Watson making a run at a championship. After failing to qualify for any post-season play last year, the dramatic turnaround seems to have caused a stir for everyone except the budding superstar.
“I have to go or I’m going to miss my bus,” Watson said when asked about her next opponent, Earl Chadwick. “I don’t want to get stuck sitting next to Duggar Meyers again. He’s gross.”
Watson’s schedule doesn’t get any easier with several first-recess matches coming up in the next week and a dreaded lunchtime-recess match against Kendra Perkins on February 10.
Beaucraft said she expects the shit to get very real in a hurry when Watson and Perkins square off.