Passion can often be the driving force behind the decisions of many.
This is no different for Shawnee State University tennis player Harley Dixon.
Before Dixon first picked up a tennis racquet, his first passion was soccer. He was a four-year letterwinner in soccer at Greenup County High School, and he was even named as the program's Most Improved Player during his junior year, ultimately becoming a two-time team captain for the Muskeeters.
"I started playing my sophomore year as a way of conditioning for soccer the next year, and it turned out that I ended up liking tennis more than I liked soccer," Dixon said.
His newfound passion for tennis would lead him to making memories that he continues to carry with him. On the court, Dixon became a two-time team captain in tennis as well while helping lead Greenup County's tennis program to greater heights in a traditionally strong and competitive 16th Region.
"My favorite memory was probably my senior year having a really good season," Dixon said. "I think we went something like 16-3. Then I ended up having to face the perennial winners of doubles in the first round of regionals, so my senior year came to an abrupt end."
With that loss at the regional tournament, Dixon's high school career was over, but when one door closes, another door opens. That door would be opened by Coach Steve Boone.
"For the longest time, to be honest, I didn't even want to go to Shawnee State because I thought it was best for me to head out of the area, travel, and see new places. However, when Coach Boone gave me the opportunity to walk on and try to earn a scholarship to keep playing tennis, which is what I love more than anything, I jumped on the opportunity to take that," Dixon said.
As a walk-on player, nothing was going to be easy for Dixon, but that did not stop him from making the most of the opportunity he was given. He spent his freshman season working hard and learning as much as he could, and he credits players like Caspar Nolte and Rodney Spriggs for helping with his development.
"I knew that I wasn't going to be one of the better players here, so I wanted to take as many chances as I could and just try to learn as much as I could," Dixon said. "I knew that I would be getting worked a lot, but I knew that I could get better and learn a lot from the older guys like Caspar and Rodney. They really helped me build my confidence and get me ready for the next year."
With Nolte and Spriggs's graduation, Dixon was determined to work hard in the offseason in order to be the best version of himself that he could be in his sophomore campaign.
"The biggest motivation is just wanting to get better," Dixon said. "I don't want to end up looking back on it and think that I could've done more."
He has never backed down from an opportunity, and he looks forward to what the future has to offer him.
"I just want to continue to win games," Dixon said. "I want to go as far as I can and continue to compete."