Whether it was in elementary school playing on co-ed teams or her ventures through high school and AAU teams, it's clear the sport has always had a place in Feitlinger's life. She even has a closet full of NBA jerseys that she wore during childhood, enough to suit a pair of miniature NBA All-Star teams from the early '90s.,Ellie Feitlinger has been around basketball her whole life.
Whether it was in elementary school playing on co-ed teams or her ventures through high school and AAU teams, it's clear the sport has always had a place in Feitlinger's life. She even has a closet full of NBA jerseys that she wore during childhood, enough to suit a pair of miniature NBA All-Star teams from the early '90s.
Not to mention the fact that she may be the only Emersonian (past, present or future) who witnessed Steve Kerr ice the NBA Championship for the Chicago Bulls in 1997.
Given her life-long passion for basketball, her dedication to the Emerson program comes as no surprise.
When Feitlinger, a senior TV/video major, first joined in 2004, she looked at the women's basketball team as a squad with a lot of promise.
"I felt like I was being a part of something new," Feitlinger said.
From the early days of driving to Pine Manor to the new days of temporarily driving down there, Feitlinger has seen the athletics program evolve by leaps and bounds.
"Recruiting is awesome now," Feitlinger said. "We're getting at least five girls a year."
Still, she is quick to admit that it didn't happen overnight. Hard work and determination have always been crucial for the efforts of Feitlinger and other basketball players.
"Some people think I'm crazy for doing it, but it's worth it in my eyes," Feitlinger said. "I've learned a lot from this program about sucking it up and letting things go."
For Feitlinger, sacrifice has been a crucial element to the sport she loves-as crucial as dribbling a basketball with your knees, a skill she also proudly boasts in her repertoire.
Through everything, the good and the bad, Feitlinger credits her family for helping her stick with the game.
"[My family is] the biggest part of my life," Feitlinger said. "Every time we'd lose or I'd play bad, they would be the ones that would call me. [My parents] helped me a lot."
Nevertheless, part of Feitlinger cringes when she sees her mother on the sidelines at games. Despite what her teammates believe, Feitlinger sticks to a few habitual superstitions.
For all that her mother has offered to Feitlinger over the years, the Lions can't seem to pull out the win when she's around.
"We almost always lose," Feitlinger said.
However, it's a welcome sacrifice for Feitlinger, who appreciates seeing her parents make the voyage from Madison, Wis., as long as they leave the hex at home.
Feitlinger's Emerson career will most likely come to a close at the end of this season as she plans to enter the Los Angeles program before graduating next year. It's a decision that she and her team won't take easily.
"I feel like I'm kind of letting down my teammates," Feitlinger said. "I know they're a little angry but it's something I need to do and it's something I'm going to miss. This basketball team is like my family."