By Danielle Coppola
We all cherish our time being home during our six-week break; yet those of us who don’t play sports take it for granted. Many of the winter sports teams spend all but two weeks of winter break on campus waking up for “two-a-days” and playing games.
“The negatives are that we are basically the only ones on campus, so it seems really dead and the dining halls are closed,” says Matt Wilkins ‘16, a member of the men’s ice hockey team.
The Schenectady weather gets the best of the players as well, according to basketball player Brian DeBisschop ‘14. He said, “It’s difficult to shovel my way out of my house after a big snow storm.”
Swimming and diving, ice hockey and basketball athletes all remained on campus for the majority of winter break, leaving them with only a few days at home. Almost every athlete cited not being home as one of the worst parts of being on campus over winter break.
Madeline Ashworth ‘14 of the women’s swim team and Kate Thompson ‘15 of the women’s basketball team noted that the short time they have at home allows little room for much relaxation time with family and friends.
As Union students, we are so used to Reamer being packed during common lunch hour. Imagine how the athletes feel over winter break when they are the onlyones in Reamer, but also in their respected residence halls as well.
On a positive note, DeBisschop shared that he thoroughly enjoyed not having to wait on lines in Reamer to get a sandwich. Stefanie Thomson ‘14, a member of the women’s ice hockey team says, “It is absolutely delightful having the campus to ourselves (no offense to the rest of the student body) meaning no lines, silence in Reamer and wearing whatever we want, judgment free.”
Jeremy Sagaille ‘15 on the men’s swim team agrees with Thomson, saying with a smile, “It’s kind of weird at first, but then you end up liking how quite it is. Then when everyone gets back it’s a little annoying at first.”
Although there are many downsides to being stuck on campus during winter break every athlete finds his or her own unique outlet for stress relief. For example, Ben Nadareski ‘16 of the men’s swim team enjoys practicing the piano. “With my free time I got to play a lot of piano, which I normally love to do and don’t have as much time as I’d like for it.”
The most popular free time activity was watching Netflix individually or as a team. As a team, many groups went out to dinner, the movies, and in the words of Wilkins, “got to experience Schenectady the way most students don’t have time for.”
These weeks spent together not only help the teams to grow physically, but also help them come together and learn more about one another. The women’s ice hockey team enjoys a collection of activities, ranging from “buying cookie cakes, going bowling and playing laser tag.”
Teams were able to utilize spaces on campus that are regularly used for schoolwork. Other positive aspects the athletes noted included the abundance of available parking spots around campus as well as not waiting to use the washers or dryers.
All in all, these athletes will tell you that staying on campus over break is not as bad as it may seem. It presents an opportunity to revisit old hobbies, bond with teammates, and experience the area in ways other students don’t always have time for.