Senior reflections on the Brandeis student-athlete experience

May 3, 2019

This past weekend, I competed in my final men’s tennis UAA conference tournament in Altamonte Springs, Florida. I’ve experienced over 70 Brandeis tennis dual matches in my time here, but none have compared to the rollercoaster upset win over 2nd-ranked University of Chicago that occurred there. In the moment that David Aizenberg ’20 won the last point in his match to clinch the upset win, I knew it was a memory that would be ingrained in my mind forever.

The guys that had finished their matches were eagerly watching the point from a court over. As he hit the last shot and we recognized the match was ours, Aizenberg threw his hands up and faced us as we stormed the court in celebration. It felt good that the No. 10 ranked team had thrown the Division III men’s tennis rankings into chaos. And it felt even better to have made Brandeis tennis history.

These are the moments when hard work pays off. As any Varsity athlete can attest, being a student-athlete at a rigorous, academic-focused school like Brandeis can be a challenging and frustrating experience. I find it hard to believe that any student-athlete hasn’t thought about how much easier it would be if they didn’t have to spend over 20 hours in Gosman a week fine-tuning their technique or working on strategic plays.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like the work pays off. We aren’t a Division I school with a history of success. We don’t have a school culture ingrained in support for student-athletes. And we don’t always have the adequate amount of funding and resources as similar schools.

But there is no feeling comparable to the glory of collective team triumph when the hard work materializes into tangible results. When you can finally say that you played a part in the making of Brandeis Athletics history, you can be at ease with the frustration, lack of sleep, soreness (and lower GPA) that you experienced.

These are the reasons why telling sports stories are important. This is why I’ve dedicated part of my time at Brandeis to the sports section of The Brandeis Hoot. The stories of triumph, glory and defeat are embedded in the memories of Brandeis student-athletes, and they, like all the other events at Brandeis, deserve to be written about and read.

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