Allison Macatee is 17 and having the time of her life.
While many her age spend the summer between their junior and senior years of high school worrying about college, Macatee is traveling the country playing tennis.
A lucky girl? Yes, Macatee considers herself lucky. But her summer travels have nothing to do with luck. It is talent, something of which Allison has an almost unlimited supply.
She is the No. 1-ranked 18-and-under girl in the Middle Atlantic Reglon. She is ranked 24th nationally in the 18s and should move up next year. This week in Houston she will be competing for one ofeight spots on the Junior Wightam Cup team.
"I'm not supposed to make the team," she said on the phone form Dallas, where she competed in the Maureen Connoly Brinker Tournament last week. "I was a littel surprised I got picked to try out."
Sixteen girls will compete in Houston. Thye will play 15 round-robin matches throughout the week and the eight girls with the best records will make the t eam.
The girls selected for the team will compete all over the country this summer and eventually go abroad. Whether or not she makes the team, Macatee, who will be a senior at Washington-Lee High School this fall, will be participating in the summer tournaments.
"If I make the team I get all my expenses paid," she said. "If not, my dad will pay for me. I guess he's probably rooting for me hardest."
Richard Macatee's interest in his 5-foot-5 daughters's tennis goes far beyond the realm of finances, however. He has been her teacher almost since she first took up the game at age 6 and has been her biggest supporter.
"I started off in a clinic with a lot of other girls," Macatee recalled. "But a little after that dad started teaching me himself. He was nationally ranked as a junior and knows the game."
Even how he still drills me when I practise, working on cross-court shots, down-the-line shots, volleys, whatever I'm having trouble with. Then I look for a match."
When she is home in Arlington, Macatee pratices about three hours a day, usually playing with men or boys in the area. There are few girls who can provide her with any kind of challenge in practice.
With that sort of practice schedule plus her traveling, Macatee's free time is limited. "It cuts down on your social life a little," she said. "But when I'm at home I go out with my friends."
And school? "I think it would be just about impossible to make straight A's with my tennis and everything, but like most of others, prefers not to be around tennis players or talk tennis when she is off the court.
"Most of my friends don't even know what tennis is," she said. "When I go out with them I'll talk about anything but tennis. You need to get away from it sometimes."
On tour it is different. It is tennis that has brought the young players together and it is their common bond. But taht doesn't mean that tennis is all the girls think about.
"We're rivals, but we're friends first," she said."There are a couple of girls who take it more seriously than others, but not many. Usually everyone is extremely polite on the court. We've seen the way some of the prosact and we just don't want to look like that. The girls are better than the boys though."
While Macatee does not choose to emulate some of the more volatile professionals, she does think about becoming a professional.
"It would be nice," she admitted. "I love to travel and I live tennis. I enjoy competing, I always have. But it's hard to make it. There are so many good girals now.
"I'm going to go to college and keep working. She is interested in Trinity in San Antonio. If I don't make the tour I think I'd like to do something international.
"Whatever happens I don't think I'd want to change anything. I've done so far. Tennis teaches you a lot. I've always loved it."