What’s next? This was the question Juan Burgos-Torres asked himself after graduating from high school. Having played tennis in several national and international tournaments on the Junior Tour, he knew that he had a few options.
“I could either shoot to go pro right away or look at other options,” he said. “I decided to come to the United States to attend college and pursue a career here while playing tennis at the collegiate level.”
For Juan, this was the most valuable option, and what landed him in Franklin Springs, Ga. to play for the Emmanuel Lions. Originally from Colombia, Juan was unable to visit Emmanuel before move-in day and was pleasantly surprised when he arrived on campus.
“Everything was new to me,” he said. “It was like being at Disney. Everything was amazing.”
Now a senior, the Psychology major hopes to make the most of his extra year of eligibility by obtaining a master’s degree in Performance/Sports Psychology then pursuing a professional tennis career or coaching.
“I’d like being a coach,” he said. “I’m very good at dissecting core principles and picking out the key points of what I learned that day. I also consider myself a good storyteller, so I’d be good at sharing analogies and teaching moments.”
As an English minor, Juan has learned how to immerse himself in different narratives.
“I took a Multicultural Literature class with Dr. Huddleston where I learned to not only analyze narratives but how to see the world through someone else’s point of view. Through it, I started to learn why people struggle in the world.”
Juan believes lessons like this will help him become a better leader and help him dissect problems and view them from other perspectives, to determine what needs to be done to better the situation for everyone.
This season the Emmanuel Tennis Lions are breaking in their new home court. Juan and his teammates look forward to what the new home will mean for the team’s season.
“I can play anywhere,” Juan said.“If a court has cracks or grass growing in the middle, that’s a barrier but it shapes you in a way to be mindful and grateful for what you have.”
Juan believes Emmanuel’s old home represents who they are as a team, usually viewed as the underdogs or the grinders.
“If we went to play at a school with nicer courts, we brought that mentality,” he said. “We knew we could play anywhere and win.”
Juan believes this year’s team has something special.
“We’re playing an individual sport in a group setting, so being able to adapt to cheering for the guy next to you while you’re playing your own game is difficult,” he said. “I’m proud to say that we have a great dynamic this year. We’re all pushing each other at practice and going the extra mile for one another.”
What’s next? This is a question that Juan Burgos Torres still asks today. However, he’s confident that after his time at Emmanuel he’s prepared for whatever life has in store!