Winter athletes find holiday joy away from home


By Paige Bowman
December 15, 2022

Men's basketball is working hard over break. Photo by Ryan Byars.
Men's basketball is working hard over break. Photo by Ryan Byars.

After the conclusion of finals week, most students will pack their bags and get ready for a two-month break. A bustling campus quickly becomes a ghost town, and the only people left behind are winter sports athletes.

Both basketball and swimming start in November, and their championships go through February. This means the holidays arrive right in the middle of their season. While most students wind down for the year, winter athletes gear up for conference matches, which are pivotal for team rankings come championship season.  

Katie Rodriguez, senior education major, said, “Being here every day 100 percent takes a toll on us mentally and physically.”

Winter athletes miss home 

The basketball team working toward a playoff spot. Photo by Ryan Byars.

Abby Windon, sophomore education major, said of last year’s season, “Over Christmas break when I stayed here, I was often a little scared because I was the only one in my dorm.” 

Winter break is a time most college students look forward to going home and enjoying the holidays with their families. Athletes who live close to home can sneak in a few days there, but for others who live far away, this could mean missing a break completely.  

“As much as I love my team, it’s hard watching all my best friends from home, who I haven’t seen in a while, all hang out while I’m trapped on campus,” Windon, a Delaware native said.  

Staying close-knit is key

Basketball is looking forward to using Nerney Pavillion. Photo by Paige Bowman.

The women’s basketball team stays close-knit during winter break. Their traditions include a dinner at their coach’s house and lots of team bonding. 

Ella Gordon, freshman early education major, said, “Coach Pearson cooks us dinner over winter break. This is a great tradition because many of us are missing the social aspect of being home over the holidays.” 

“Each of our parents gets a chance to cook for our team and spend time with us since we can only go home for six days over the break,” Rodriguez said. 

Swim team bonds in the Sunshine State

The swim team has its own winter break traditions that make missing a break worth the time. One of these includes a training trip to Orlando, Florida. The trip takes place in the first week of January and is eight days long.

“We get to hang out with each other, creating memories while being here over Christmas break,” Windon said.  

Michael Gray, junior business management major, said, “It’s a lot of fun to go somewhere warm. The training does become more intense, but it’s a lot of fun overall and worth it in the end.”  

Making the most of winter break

Despite it being hard to be away from family over winter break, the winter sports teams make the most of it. They get through with lots of team bonding, both here and on the road. This helps the athletes find holiday joy, even if they are far from home.  

The winter sports teams stay close-knit and practice hard over the break, hoping to get the best gift of all, a championship to bring home to Cabrini.  

There is lots of time left to cheer on the winter sports athletes. The remainder of the swim meets and basketball games can be found on the Cabrini athletics calendar. 

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Paige Bowman

My name is Paige Bowman. I am a junior digital communication major, minoring in marketing. I’m from Watsontown, located in rural central Pennsylvania. At Cabrini, I have played on the women’s soccer team for all three of my years. I have been playing soccer since I was four years old and can’t remember a time before it. In my free time, I am an avid hiker, runner, and kayaker. I take my dog, Clementine, with me on all my adventures. She is a rescue from South Carolina who shares the same interests as me. Some of my other passions include painting and art of any kind. I help create graphics and game day edits for my soccer team. During the school year, I live off campus in the nearby town of Conshohocken. When I’m not at school, I love to visit my grandma Rita and play card games with her. To this day she has yet to beat me in a game of Rummy.

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