Feb. 3, 2005
This week's featured athlete is Boston College sophomore tennis player Lindsey Nash. Last season, she led the women's tennis team with 18 wins and helped lead the Eagles to their highest national ranking in school history. Nash recently moved on in the "American Idol" competition after successfully advancing through the preliminary round in Cleveland, Ohio. She will sing the national anthem at the Fleet Center on Monday night when the men's ice hockey team takes on Boston University in the first round of the Beanpot.
Q: How was the American Idol experience?
A: It was a crazy experience in general. A lot of the people who audition come from a lot of different backgrounds. It's emotionally stressful for everyone, and it was for my mother and me as well. We went in there thinking I might have a shot. I do a lot of singing and people seem to enjoy it, so we didn't know what was going to happen. I went into it knowing that if I didn't make it, I'm still at a great school, getting an awesome education and playing sports. Some of the people auditioning, that chance is all they have. I feel really blessed, because I've already got such a fabulous life. If you get cut, it's not necessarily because you're bad, you just may not be the personality they're looking for. It's been a great experience to practice performing under stressful conditions and keeping your composure.
Q: What was the atmosphere like in Cleveland, when you first tried out?
A: There were 15,000 people in the Cleveland Browns' stadium and you walk up three at a time in front of 12 executive producers. Each person sings for 15 seconds and they tell you who's going ahead and who's not. They let the really good people go through and the really bad people go through. It dropped from 15,000 to a few hundred and then those people audition in front of two executive producers. It's the same as the celebrity judges but it's not on television. If you make it through that, you fly home and come back the following week. Seventy-five people or so actually auditioned in front of the celebrity judges.
Q: What was it like when you made it to Hollywood?
A: It was so stressful. I've never been in a situation where everyone pretends like they're your best friend because the cameras are watching. At this point in the competition, all of the singers are really talented and really good. So many of them have spent their whole lives doing it - they're performers and that's they're calling in life. I just did a lot of observing - checking everything out because there were some incredible singers there. It was high stress and extremely emotional with lots of people crying all the time.
Q: What started first, tennis or singing?
A: Tennis and singing started at pretty much the same time. I played my first tennis tournament when I was 7. I became involved with tennis because of my father. He's always been my coach and my mentor. We play father/daughter tournaments all the time and he's been the person who I followed and looked up to in the sport. And probably about the same age, I started to sing with my mom in church. We have videos of me singing and hitting balls at the same time.
Q: How do you feel about the start of the tennis season?
A: We're definitely excited about this upcoming weekend. It was a rough weekend in Minnesota. We didn't have the mental edge we normally have. I'm honored to be playing with the girls we have on the team right now because we have the greatest group of girls you could ever ask for. They really are like my sisters. I'm so comfortable with all of them. When you have other people to play for, you put more heart into it. We all have each other to play for. We'll be fine. We had some low points last year but we came back and rebounded.
Q: You finished last season with an injury, are you ready to go now?
A: I'm completely healthy and excited to be playing. It's tough to work really hard and then have an injury take it away, but that's happened to a lot of girls on the team. We try to support each other to get back playing. Physically, I feel even stronger than last year. The more matches I play, the more confident I'll become and more mentally tough I'll get.
Q: Has it been fun reuniting with Gia Nafarrete on the doubles court?
A: Gia is my best friend from home. We met at 12-under nationals in Arizona when we were 11 years old. By coincidence, we were put together to play doubles. We've been playing together ever since. Our games and personalities really complement each other. We haven't played together in a couple of years and right now we`re trying to remember the way we played together in juniors because we were pretty successful. Hopefully we'll get to play together all year and see what we can do. When we feel confident playing together, we're a pretty tough team.
Q: What are your personal goals for the season?
A: One of our goals is definitely to beat Notre Dame. We play them in the Flynn Complex, which is to our advantage. It can definitely be done. We also have team-oriented goals such as holding ourselves accountable in terms of staying healthy, staying fit and being supportive of one another. Individually, I would love to have more wins than I had last year, but one of my main goals is to stay healthy all season and be able to compete at the Big East Championships. We think academics are really important, so we're trying to maintain a high team GPA, so that's an individual goal as well.
Q: Do you see yourself playing tennis or singing professionally?
A: When I was younger I definitely wanted to follow up with tennis. I grew up practicing in a way that would prepare me to play professional tennis if I wanted to try it out. I had coaches telling me I'd be able to pursue that if I worked hard enough. I started getting injured in high school and had chronic stress fractures in my shins and I've come to realize that my body wouldn't be able to hold up at such a high level of playing and training. With singing, I'm open to any possibilities. I look at singing as something I really enjoy doing. I love doing the anthem for the school and I think it's a neat way to get involved with athletics even more.