University of Indiana club tennis president Lauren Rothstein knew that Tennis On Campus was her path to enjoying the game during her time in Bloomington.
© Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA
By Sarah Houseknecht, special to USTA.com
CARY, N.C. -- When competitive tennis player Lauren Rothstein graduated from high school, she felt burnt out from the sport she had once loved. She made the decision not to pursue varsity athletics at the collegiate level and chose to attend Indiana University for academic reasons.
Once on campus, she discovered one of the Hoosiers’ smaller club sport programs, Tennis On Campus. Now a junior, Rothstein is the president of the IU Club Tennis Team and has rediscovered a passion for the sport.
"I knew if I had played varsity, I would never have picked up a racquet again after college," said Rothstein. "That’s not the kind of relationship I wanted to have with tennis."
Rothstein joined 15 other students her freshman year in a club that was "falling apart." Within two years she has built a presence for club tennis at Indiana both on campus and on the web. Participation in the club has grown to nearly 80 student-athletes and has quickly gained respect on campus.
Prior to the club heading to Cary, N.C. for the Tennis On Campus National Championship, IU Club Tennis was awarded "Most Improved Sports Club of the Year," with Rothstein named IU Club Sports Female Athlete of the Year - an impressive feat considering there are nearly 50 club sports teams at Indiana.
"I am very proud of our team," said Rothstein, who will serve as the vice president of the IU Club Sports Federation next year. "These honors were selected by a group of our peers and it’s great that they have taken notice. We have definitely built some visibility for club tennis here."
Rothstein has also reached out to other USTA Midwest clubs for tips to continue making improvements. She said she takes notes from other great leaders in her section like the University of Illinois and 2011-12 USTA Tennis On Campus Leader of the Year Matthew Ship from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"When Matt received the award I asked if he would mind sharing some ideas with me. He was happy to help and we talked on the phone for over an hour," said Rothstein. "Although we are rivals, we all want the Midwest teams to be strong contenders when it comes time for nationals."
Rothstein said being club president has also been a terrific learning experience as a business student. She has had the opportunity to manage the executive board and take on portions of the many roles necessary to run a successful team.
Rothstein's experience has proved to be a positive one, and she continues to aspire to build a career in tennis after college.
"Tennis On Campus has helped me regain a love for tennis that I had lost for so many years," Rothstein said.