Jan. 28, 2010
A month prior to his first quarter as a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, tennis player Josh Finkelstein took a flight home to Hong Kong to visit his mother. When the plane landed, his leg was sore and cramped.
Finkelstein later found out that he had developed deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots form in the leg. It is potentially fatal if a clot were to dislodge and travel to the lungs and become a pulmonary embolism.
DVT severely limited Finkelstein's physical activity as a freshman, causing him to miss the tennis season. He still is and always will be on blood thinners to help prevent clots, but he has rallied back. Finkelstein has not let his illness stop him from accomplishing nearly everything imaginable as a student-athlete at UCSB.
As an athlete, Finkelstein has helped lead his team to a Big West championship every year. He has enjoyed success in singles and doubles. He has even been named to the Hong Kong Davis Cup team, one of the highest honors a tennis player can earn.
His success off the court has been equally, if not more, impressive. As a business economics major and minor in Chinese, Finkelstein has been selected as UCSB's Big West Male Scholar Athlete of the Year.
His commitment to academics led the way as the men's tennis team finished with the highest team GPA this fall.
Finkelstein has also shown leadership as a team captain and member of various campus organizations. He has helped the community as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, and he is a representative of all student-athletes on the ICA Building Governance Board.
Last year, Finkelstein started the regular season as the number seven singles player on the team after a poor fall season, but quickly rose to the second spot. He finished the season with a record of 18-5.
Finkelstein attributes the constant improvement of his singles game to maintaining a high level of physical fitness and, "staying focused on every point, no matter what the score is."
His hard work earned him First Team All-Big West honors in both singles and doubles.
"He's just a genuinely nice, sincere person," said head coach Marty Davis. "He's the kind of guy that a mother would want her daughter to date."
Since the team has won the conference the past four years, including the 2005-06 season, the year he redshirted, Davis jokes Finkelstein has the opportunity to become the first five-time league champion.
Finkelstein took the opportunity to answer some questions about himself.
1. What are your favorite things to do when you're not playing tennis?
"Play golf, Playstation and backgammon."
2. What is your favorite class you've taken at UCSB?
"My favorite class was Econ 174 (Negotiations)."
3. Who is your favorite professor?
"My favorite professor is Professor Crouch."
4. What is your favorite food?
5. What is the best part about waking up in Santa Barbara every day?
"The weather is perfect."
6. Where is your favorite place to play tennis?
"Court 3 Pacific Club. At night you can see all the buildings in Hong Kong lit up."
7. What will you miss the most about life at UCSB after you graduate?
"Being on the team."
9. What is your favorite thing to do on an off day?
"Hang out and watch sports or catch up with my TV shows."
10. What is your favorite movie?
"The Hangover, so many good parts!"
11. Who is your favorite musician/band?
"I can't choose one but some of my favorites are The Killers, Springsteen, Kanye and Black Eyed Peas."
12. Who is the best player you've ever played tennis against?
"Serena (Williams) is the best women tennis player I have played with, and Pat Cash and Juan Carlos Ferrero are the best male tennis players I have played with."
13. What is your favorite place to eat in Isla Vista?
14. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
15. Conan or Leno?
16. What is your favorite sport to watch other than tennis?
17. Who is your favorite author?
19. Is there a motto that you live by?
"Get busy living, or get busy dying."
20. In one word, how would you describe UCSB tennis?