On the surface, Lindsey Goldstein appears to be an average
freshman living on the Hill, but she is much busier than most
18-year-olds.

Her hectic schedule doesn’t involve countless hours of
hitting the books. This weekend, you won’t find her anywhere
near a library, and you can be sure that she’ll enjoy her
share of Champaign.

Illinois, that is.

Goldstein is a member of No. 25 Michigan women’s tennis
team, deep in the thick of Big Ten competition. This weekend the
team’s pitted against the Fighting Illini. The amiable native
of Highland Park, Ill., lives in the shadowy world of the
student-athlete, a universe foreign to classmates who have yet to
wake up before 10 a.m. since football season.

She has been putting in her time and paying her dues since she
first stepped onto campus.

Goldstein gets through grueling days on four hours of sleep
regularly, often studying past four in the morning and then waking
up for class at eight. After classes, she has practice. After
practice, she has mandatory study table. There is no rest for the
weary, even during offseason.

Goldstein faces the task of locating a tennis oasis in the
concrete jungle of New York City this summer, where she will intern
at PMK Publishing Company while maintaining top tennis form.

Goldstein’s best friend Arielle Meyers is perplexed by her
dedication: “I don’t understand how she finds a
balance. If it were me, I would snap. Yet she still manages to find
time to chill. Astounding.”

You will probably not find her name in the box score. She has
played in, and won, just one dual match this season. As the ninth
player in a rotation of eight, Goldstein often finds herself on the
fringes playing exhibition matches while her teammates compete.

A smile never escapes her face, and she is the first person to
give vocal and emotional support to her teammates.

At a school where athletes are often placed on a pedestal,
Goldstein prefers a more low-key approach to her rigorous schedule
of studying, athletic training and competition, and executes all at
a high level. She has spurned the convenient housing location on
Central Campus reserved for athletes, choosing to live with the
general freshman population of Couzens Residence Hall. She is even
a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.

“I wanted to meet more people and be able to relax,”
Goldstein said. “I knew I’d be involved with a lot of
other athletes through the team, and I wanted the full Michigan
experience.”

Her idea of a ‘full experience’ would leave many of
her classmates dying of exhaustion.

But Goldstein’s roommate, Jackie Cobb, thinks she has it
figured out: “She eats a lot of weird food. Bananas, peanut
butter, cottage cheese, granola — you name it. All on one
plate.”

Her eclectic choice of food reflects on the full plate of her
scholastic life. Not everyone could stomach it. Goldstein wants
seconds.

“I would be stressed out if I wasn’t playing,”
Goldstein explains. “I need to be on the courts every day.
That’s just the way I’ve always been. Anything else
would be weird.”

In the gymnasium at Highland Park High School, a banner
immortalizes the 2002 state championship in doubles she shared with
her once and current teammate Debra Streifler. Her profile on the
Michigan team is much more inconspicuous than the veneration she
was used to at home.

“It was an adjustment going from individual stardom to the
personal sacrifice of the bench, but it’s a different arena
in the Big Ten, and the team’s success is all that
matters.”

In a sport where the team’s goals can take a backseat to
the pursuit of individual glory, Goldstein relishes her position as
a role player.

“It’s great to be part of the team knowing that I
can always do something to contribute,” she said. “I
support my teammates because they’re some of my best friends
— we’re all really intimate. They’re not as mean
as they look on the team poster,” she said.

Goldstein is a key part of the team’s success, and her
blood and tears can be found in the ink that marks the team’s
national ranking. Her persistent endurance allows the team to
maintain its performance level, and her motivation has not waned as
the season enters the home stretch.

“Whether I am cheering them on during their matches or
giving them a shoulder to cry on after a loss, I am always ready to
lift their spirits and keep pushing the team on to success,”
Goldstein said. “It makes it all the more exciting when I get
a chance to play. It is a change to have to work so hard for it,
but you cannot beat the satisfaction of competing and winning at
this level of competition.”

Her hope is for the team to hoist another banner at the Varsity
Tennis Center this year. She will probably have to sweat out her
teammates ‘matches on the sideline and in exhibition matches
until she gets her turn, but her enthusiasm will go unchecked.

Only a freshman, she has time on her side, and you can be sure
she’ll enjoy every minute.

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