By Donna Parker
It doesn’t take long when you’re talking with Leah Goldstein, who received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Trinity in 2007, to figure out that playing volleyball is her true love.
Even as Leah awaits acceptance into nursing school in her hometown of Houston, her mind is far away – in Israel, to be exact – the location of the Maccabi Games being played this summer. Leah has been selected to play for Team USA Volleyball and she eagerly awaits her July adventure which will begin with pre-camp in D.C.
“It will be very exciting!” laughs Leah. “My team will get to know each other and adjust to playing volleyball together before heading to Israel for two weeks of training and then—the games.”
This will be the 18th Maccabi Games, which are held every four years and honor outstanding Jewish athletes worldwide. This year, 7,000 athletes from 50 countries will compete in the third largest sports event in the world designed to draw attention to Israel.
There were two tryouts for the Maccabi games held on each coast in the U.S. but Leah impressed the judges via a videotape recording her playing volleyball while at Trinity.
“I spent so much time with Julie Jenkins, department of athletics, and my team in the Trinity gym. In fact, more than half my time in college was spent playing or traveling with the team in the fall and spring seasons. The Maccabi Games are a great chance for me to be competitive in my favorite sport once more. Most people don’t have that opportunity to play competitive sports after college.”
“Besides that,” she adds, “I’ve never seen Israel!”
When asked about security concerns, Leah says she feels safe heading into what can be dangerous territory. Her mom is nervous, she says but her dad is not, and neither is she.
“Anytime other nations will be in Israel for large events, the Israeli Army provides protection. All of our buses are privately chartered and we will have a military escort. My coach has been over there three or four times for the games during war and peace and has not felt unsafe.”
In order to prepare, Leah has been working out with CrossFit, a competitive new workout setting that integrates high intensity functional fitness with varying timed workouts.
In her spare time, she loves to shop and go to movies with friends, but for right now, the only thing she’s concentrating on is preparing for the games. Volleyball comes first, just like when she was a Trinity student.
“If you played sports at Trinity, you spent so much time with your sport that it became your life. I did love the small campus and ended up knowing everybody including all of the professors like Jennifer Mathews, department of sociology and anthropology. I had her for human evolution and forensic anthropology.”
“Really, though, I remember Jacob Tingle, department of athletics. He was head of the intramural department. I worked for him and spent lots of time there.”
“Julie got me involved in Maccabi and I’m looking forward to representing the U.S. and playing on my country’s volleyball team!”
You may e-mail Leah at Leah.firstname.lastname@example.org.