Dan Piersma, Assistant Sports Editor
Semester breaks are a time for students and faculty to unwind and relax before returning to classes. During the winter break however, student athletes and coaches tend to run things business as usual.
While everyone has gone back home to spend time with family during the holiday season, those that have made a commitment to a sports team tend to remain on campus and prepare for the upcoming games.
For the men’s basketball head coach Sean Coffey, he has come to learn that the schedule is going to be different.
“That three to four-week period can make or break a team.” Coffey said
During his tenure with the team, coach Coffey has never had to deal with any issues such as aggravation or internal problems.
“The guys have always handled it well and I’ve always seen a benefit from those few weeks” Coffey stated.
Once the players are done with mid-morning or afternoon practice, coach Coffey makes sure all the players eat and then he gives them time to hang out without the coaches around. That player interaction can be crucial to success.
Another thing that the break allows is for some of the younger athletes to get reps in that they normally may not have time for when school is in session. This also allows the coaches to observe and assist athletes to give them a chance to improve.
As for athlete perspectives from different sports, members of the women’s hockey team tend to spend free time with each other more, which is an opportunity to build team camaraderie.
Sophomore Sirena Fitzery explained how the team has required meal times throughout the day so it only leaves the girls with a few real free hours to themselves on break, and that staying on campus during that time can always make them feel a little homesick.
“It does get annoying when some of your friends are still at home with family and it makes you wonder what you’re missing out on,” Fitzery said. “But at the same time it’s nice to only have to worry about hockey and not school.”
Student-athletes are no stranger to having a majority of their time taken up by sports and schoolwork, but they realize they must stay committed to what they signed up for.
Sometimes the schedules are changing even on the break and it makes it hard to engage in other activities, but they manage to stay busy and find ways to make the most of the time alone on campus.
“With practice times changing every day, usually with the free time we have we will all hang out as a team,” said freshman forward Erica Sloan.
For those apart of winter collegiate sports, there’s never really a semester break, only a time where they are more focused on sports than school.
Some students really enjoy the break because of what their teams do.
Senior Daniela Hannah, a member of the swim team, got to spend her break in Florida with the rest of the team for training. The trips can provide some of the best memories for students, no matter what break they are on.
“This training time is amazing because we are in a different environment than the UC pool. The pool was outdoors so sometimes it was a challenge when swimming backstroke and having the sun blinding us but there is no stress from school.” Hannah said.