By J. Fred Sidhu
Indian Wells, Calif. – What happens when a tennis player has an important tennis event to play at the same time as a family gathering that should not be missed - on the opposite side of the country?
In most cases he or she would have to choose one or the other. But in Sheryl Goldstein’s case, some creative travel arrangements and personal sacrifice have allowed her to do both.
Goldstein, a resident of Montclair, N.J., is representing the USTA Eastern Section at this weekend’s 2010 USTA League 3.0 Senior National Championships at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
She flew into John Wayne Airport in Irvine on Thursday afternoon and played in her team’s first two matches in Indian Wells on Friday before having to drive back to Irvine to catch a 9 p.m. red-eye back to the East Coast, where she will attend her niece’s Bat Mitzvah on Saturday afternoon.
After her team won the USTA Eastern Sectionals last month, Goldstein knew there was a schedule conflict when the dates of Nationals were announced.
Goldstein said it was a dream to play in Nationals not only for her, but also for her doubles partner, Cindy Sherman, who is also her life partner. The pair won two doubles matches Friday.
"The challenge for me was my brother and his daughter," said Goldstein, who described her niece’s Bat Mitzvah as a ‘big family event.’
Initially Goldstein was going to play all weekend at Nationals and miss her family event but a text message from her brother convinced her she should be there.
"There’s got to be a way where I can at least experience being here, but not miss the family event," said Goldstein, who played USTA League tennis for the first time this year.
"So, I looked at the flights and the option was to come and play today (Friday), fly out tonight, get home at five in the morning, try and get a couple of hours of sleep, get dressed up, drive to Westchester County (N.Y) where my brother lives from New Jersey and be there for the family event," she said.
"I would have felt really bad if I gave up being here completely, so at least I was able to be here today (Friday) and experience it," Goldstein said. "Luckily there was a flight I could catch tonight, if there wasn’t I would have been in trouble."
When asked about her one-day experience at the USTA National Championships, Goldstein said, "It’s a thrill to be here. The whole experience is phenomenal."