Johnson won his first match of the year on Wednesday against Welsey

March 29, 2012

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – In today’s day and age, it is not often that you see a student-athlete proclaim their hero to be Bruce Lee. Especially with the likes of celebrities such as Lebron James, Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning, an appeal towards Lee may seem a bit strange. Regardless of the fact, Johnson sees a little of himself in Lee.

It’s Lee’s intangibles that enamor sophomore tennis player Malcolm Johnson (Silver Spring, Md.) to be something unique.

Whether it is his work ethic, mindset or dynamic, Johnson already possesses many skills that the former Lee once had.

Johnson, a first-degree black belt, carries strong leadership skills and was selected earlier this season as the team’s captain. His play at No. 1 singles and top doubles speaks for itself, as his results are amongst the best of any Hawk the past few years.

There is no doubt that the 2011-12 season has been tough for the men’s team. Despite the early struggles, Johnson has still been able to stay positive and not let it negatively influence him.

In fact, it has aided in him in wanting to achieve bigger things.  

“The main adversity I hit with anything I become proficient at is the inevitable wall,” said Johnson. “It always takes time to pass, but I’m pretty good at adapting to higher levels.”

So far this season, Johnson has been an active ingredient for the men’s team. He won his first match of the year on Wednesday against Welsey College, where he disposed of Chris Maximo 6-0, 6-4 at top singles. Although the victory was his first of the season, he has just missed winning several times recently. In a match last week against Chowan, he took the opening set to nine games.

His beginnings with tennis were seen as a youth, but the sport was not his first love.

“I picked up tennis in high school,” said Johnson. “Basketball was my first sport. However, I’ve long retired from it. I now love tennis much more.”

Throughout his tennis career, he has learned to take growth in a year-by-year format. The learning curve is aimed at success of the courts, but it’s also helped develop a contagious charisma to impact those around him.

“My biggest motivation is to achieve my top form and to surpass it,” said Johnson. “The key to success is pushing past your personal best every day.”

The sophomore came to UMES from Flowers High School in Silver Spring, Md., where he had a solid high school tennis career. While at FHS, he helped the team defeat Roosevelt High School as a senior. Johnson was an excellent student at Flowers and was named to the school’s honor roll three times.

It was not much later that he decided UMES would be the next stop for him. He found UMES to be quiet and peaceful at first. He liked the slower pace on campus; a feeling that he felt benefitted him from the beginning.

While at UMES, he has also found a love for working out and now aspires to train others personally. Johnson is known by many as “Swole”, particularly in reference to his physique and strength levels.

UMES is proud to have people like Johnson involved with the athletics program. His ability to understand that life is a constant journey is impressive, as are his aspirations to grow each and every day.

Perhaps Lee was making an inference towards Johnson when he offered, “If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

Lee’s words certainly speak toward Johnson’s mindset. There is no rush in having to grow. It’s a process that comes on its own.

One year at a time.

One week at a time.

One day at a time.


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