Tennis has been a part of my life before I was even born. My parents met playing tennis, my aunts and uncles play tennis, my cousins play tennis, etc. So naturally at the age of four, I picked up a racket and began my almost 18-year long tennis career. Tennis is a very mental sport, so playing tournaments growing up was not easy due to the tremendous pressure and loneliness you can feel. When you are a tennis player, you don’t ever really feel like a part of a team; it is just you and your thoughts on a big tennis court. I enjoyed playing for the most part, but I never felt satisfied with my level of play, and sometimes it felt as though I shed more tears of sadness than tears of joy.
When I first joined the CMS tennis team, I felt very anxious about what kind of experience I would have over the next four years. The coach who had recruited me had left the month before I joined the team, I didn’t know any of my teammates, and I was insecure about trying to compete with the students at Claremont McKenna who I felt were already more accomplished than me. Not only was I being thrown into classes that my high school had not prepared me for, but I was also being pushed on the tennis court and in the weight room like never before. Thus began the wild ride that was college for Lindsay Brown...
My time at CMC has not always been the easiest; I failed tests, I struggled with my self-esteem, and I felt (and still occasionally feel) uncertain about what the future would hold. However, while this all was happening, I always had tennis and my Athena teammates. As soon as I got to know my teammates and our coaching staff, I felt this sense of belonging and accomplishment that I had never really felt on a tennis court before. For once, I didn’t have to go through the ups and downs of tennis alone, and I started to gain a new love of the game I had played for so long. Even when my anxiety seemed unbearable, tennis became an outlet to relieve the stress of the week and remind me to stay in the present. Even more importantly, my teammates and coaches were there to support me through it all.
Over time, I gained more belief in myself as well as felt overwhelming belief in my teammates and the direction our team was going. I began to see myself accomplish things I never thought I would, like becoming an NCAA All-American and seeing myself make real progress with my level, but never in my wildest dreams did I think our team could become National Champions in my senior year. Being able to be a part of our team’s progression over the last four years to become National Champions for the first time in program history will forever be one of the greatest experiences of my life as well as the fairy tale ending to a somewhat rough senior year. As I finish my time at CMC, I can look back and say that I’m proud of the student, athlete, and person I have become.
Being a student-athlete has taught me how to become a more disciplined, accountable, and understanding person on and off the court, and I can’t thank my coaches, parents, and the Athena family enough for the love and support they’ve given me over the last four years. Playing with these passionate and driven women has empowered me to be a more compassionate person and work harder to accomplish my goals. I will look back on my college tennis career with only fond memories of the demanding practices and hard-fought battles that have given me more self-confidence and made me who I am today. I only wish I could go back and tell incoming first year Lindsay that whatever happens will be okay because you will always have an amazing support system that can get you through anything and that with tennis on your side, the sky is the limit.
Lindsay Brown | Women's Tennis
Claremont McKenna - 2018