Being a student athlete during the holidays can be difficult, but while spending Thanksgiving break with your team instead of your family is tough, the CSC women’s basketball team makes the most of it.
“I have a big family, plus I’ve never missed a Thanksgiving with them so it will be different this year,” Chadron State women’s basketball player Brittni McCully, redshirt freshman of Mullen, said.
While McCully expected to miss out on the holiday, her mother Traci McCully said Brittni was able to make Thanksgiving dinner after all and brought along some of her teammates as well.
“Since we are only 150 miles away she was able to come home that morning after basketball practice,” Traci said. “She brought along several others from the team that couldn’t go to their homes.
“It would have been difficult if she had not been here, mainly because she has a nine-year-old sister who is very close with her,” Traci says.
But when Brittni does miss a family get together, her mother says it makes it much easier to know she is with her team, who Traci calls Brittni’s second family and “a great group of young women.”
With their holiday routines potentially very different from the norm, student-athletes mindsets can be negatively affected, but Head Women’s Basketball Coach Janet Raymer hasn’t seen that happen with her group.
“Some players get home sick and some don’t, but I haven’t notice a big change in anyone recently,” Raymer said.
As lonely as being away from family can be, it does have its benefits for the players.
Typically inundated with their many responsibilities both in the classroom and on the court, holiday breaks allow student athletes much-needed time to regroup.
“You have to take time to work hard on your craft and those are the sacrifices I like to make,” senior guard Mickenzie Brennan, senior of Ellsworth, said. “I know my family will always be in my corner supporting me no matter what is going on, or how far away I am from them.”
Brennan, who lives close to home but doesn’t often get to see her family, also said although being on campus over break can be tough, being with teammates can help strengthen team bonds, an important aspect of success.
Coach Raymer also sees the pros and cons of the holiday break keeping her players together during a time when other CSC students are parting ways for a few days.
“It can be good or bad,” Raymer said, “because at some point players do get a little bit tired of each other. But I think that it’s important that we do things other than basketball together, and those things do help.”