DeStefano does double duty

With her team’s 66-64 loss to Johnson Wales Tuesday night in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament, basketball season came to an end for DeStefano.,Senior Lindsay DeStefano sees everything in twos. She plays two sports, works two jobs and takes two classes this semester. Unfortunately, doubling her commitments has also doubled her stress level.

With her team’s 66-64 loss to Johnson Wales Tuesday night in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament, basketball season came to an end for DeStefano. However, there’ll be no chance to rest for the broadcast journalism major; softball practices have started and she’s scheduled to graduate at the end of the semester.

Juggling the two seasons with academics and work has created a very hectic lifestyle for DeStefano. She said that although she enjoys participating in each, she also wishes she could get a chance to rest once in a while.

“Most athletes have a season off, or at least some time off,” DeStefano said. “I have practice or a game almost every day of the whole school year.”

Although keeping up with her schedule can be a daunting task, she believes the hours of class, work, daily practice and games add a necessary structure to her life.

“It takes a lot of time management to get all my work done,” DeStefano said. “But in the end, I think it’s worth it.”

The hard work has paid off over the past year, as both of her teams have exceeded expectations. The Emerson softball team won the GNAC championship, becoming the first team in Emerson history to go the NCAA tournament. The team won two of its first three games in the tournament before bowing out against Wellesley, 5-1. DeStefano called the team’s victory over Western New England in the GNAC title game the highlight of her career as an Emerson athlete.

This winter, the women’s basketball team bounced back from a slow start to finish the season 15-11, making the playoffs as the fifth seed under first-year Head Coach Bill Gould. DeStefano averaged eight points and four rebounds per game while leading her team with 49 steals.

Gould said that having DeStefano on his team helped provide senior leadership that has made his transition to Emerson easier.

“She plays like a veteran and helps settle our team down,” Gould said. “She is a steadying influence and can play any position I need her to.”

DeStefano, a native of Glocester, RI, began her sports career playing organized softball and basketball at age seven, but says she started competing with her older brother even earlier.

“My brother was an athlete, and I wanted to be like him,” DeStefano said. “My parents wouldn’t let me play football, but I would play baseball and basketball with him all the time.”

DeStefano decided to attend Emerson four years ago because it offered her the chance to get a good education while being able to compete on a varsity team. She said her top priority was to be able to play softball at the collegiate level and that participating in basketball was an added bonus.

When she does get the chance to kick back, DeStefano, a self-described “TV junkie,” likes to spend her time watching television. She said her favorite show is “The Hills,” because she enjoys seeing the lifestyle of “Laguna Beach” star Lauren Conrad, which she says greatly differs from her own.

Softball Head Coach Phil McElroy, who presented DeStefano the team’s Coaches Award in 2006, said he believes that DeStefano will be successful in whatever career she chooses in the future.

“As long as I have known Lindsay, she has always wanted to become better at whatever she has done,” McElroy said. “She works hard to do so.”

Although she came to Emerson with the idea of becoming a sportscaster, her experience as a Lion has fueled her passion for sports and altered her future plans.

“I will always have broadcasting on the backburner,” DeStefano said. “But I would really like to stay involved with sports.”

Next year, DeStefano will attend Northeastern University to earn her master’s degree in Sports Leadership. She hopes to use this degree to become a coach, ideally at the college level. In the long term future, she said she hopes to become an athletic director back in Rhode Island. DeStefano also said she would like to have a family without the stress and time commitment of being a coach.

With basketball season coming to an end, DeStefano said she is ready for softball season to begin with her team’s trip to Florida for 10 games starting on March 9. Last year DeStefano, a third baseman, hit .347 with five home runs and 32 runs batted in. She was selected the GNAC All-Confernece First Team. She was also named to the ESPN: The Magazine Academic All-District Second Team.

Although DeStefano is ready for the softball season to begin, she is also hitting the books and eagerly awaiting her graduation.

“I will be sad leaving all the good friends I have met here,” DeStefano said. “But I am really excited to graduate and ready to move on.”