Sunday, December 5, 2021

Father-son team hold court together

Kelly Langdon, the Marcus High School tennis coach, is enjoying working with his son, Sebastian Langdon, a junior on the school's tennis team. (Photo by Bill Castleman)
Kelly Langdon, the Marcus High School tennis coach, is enjoying working with his son, Sebastian Langdon, a junior on the school’s tennis team. (Photo by Bill Castleman)

It was a single shot. A game point serve that would propel a mixed double’s team to the state tournament if it landed in bounds. Its server, Sebastian Langdon, could not even see it land, but it didn’t matter.

The Marcus High School junior could tell by his father Kelly Langdon’s reaction that the ball reached its mark and that he and his teammate were state bound.

This was last school year, it was the regional tournament, it was against an opponent in Waco Midway that had beaten Marcus earlier in the season, and it was the proudest moment in both of the Langdon’s tennis careers.

Kelly, the Marcus High School tennis coach and former Grapevine High School standout player, has had the unique opportunity for the last several years to coach his son, Sebastian, at Marcus High School and privately.

The Marcus tennis coach said it has been an experience like no other.

“It’s a real blessing,” Kelly said. “Being able to coach him at school and professionally is special. To be able to go into work every day with your son, and then having a portion of your day you’re required to work with him, I have to admit that every day is a blessing.”

Kelly said that he always wanted to make sure that Sebastian had a choice about what sport or activity in which he would choose to involve himself, but said he was quite relieved when his son picked up a tennis racket.

“I was trying to do the right parent thing and say, ‘hey, you can do whatever you want to do,’” Kelly said. “He played T-Ball, but trust me, everything in me was praying that he would want to play tennis, because I knew that was where I would be able to help him the most.”

Kelly said it has been a great pleasure to coach his son and said he knew from a young age that Sebastian had the potential for greatness.

“Early on with Sebastian, I knew he could be great,” Kelly said. “He really does have a good perspective of the game and an understanding of what’s going on on the court. I knew with how good he was on the court that as he got bigger and stronger, he was going to be hard to handle for anybody.”

Sebastian has several Division I offers to play tennis in college, including Abilene Christian, Lamar University and Incarnate Word, but has not yet decided on where he would like to attend.

The Marcus senior said it has been great playing for Kelly and said the two of them work very well together.

“I get to go out there and play for my dad and have him coach me on the court,” Sebastian said. “Honestly, it’s almost like an unstoppable duo. You have the brains of my dad, who knows the game very well, and then you have my strokes. It’s really fun. It’s awesome.”

Sebastian plays boys doubles this season and said he always tries to bring a couple of things to the team.

“I’m a captain this year, so I like to bring the leadership to the court and try to make sure that everyone is working hard during the practices,” Sebastian said. “I like to work hard during practices, and then joke around and have fun afterwards.”

Sebastian said it did not take long for him to realize that tennis was his sport and that he would get to spend more time with his father as well.

The Marcus tennis standout said he has heard the stories about what a great player his father was in high school, but added he has never felt any extra pressure to do well himself.

“I know my dad was awesome, but his is not my career,” Sebastian said. “I have to play my own career, and I’ve had success doing so.”

Sebastian has reached the state tournament once, regional tournament twice, and has more than 200 tournament victories in high school.

His ultimate goal is to take over his father’s business and start coaching on his own.

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