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September 19, 2014
Ithaca, NY 42°F | Fog

Columns

Building bonds for spring teams

Maybe you spent your spring break in a bathing suit or drooling over home-cooked meals, but my favorite moment of the week-long hiatus was a game of Jenga.

Spring break is a misnomer for the spring varsity sports teams at Ithaca College. Sure, the teams are reacquainted with a warm stranger in the sky and snow becomes a faint memory, but it is not a break. The week off from school in March is the most crucial week in the season for team building.

While some college students spent last week on a beach chair with a drink in one hand and Snapchatting with their phone in the other, the Bomber teams were busy running together from the icy grip of Ithaca. The baseball team traveled to California; men’s and women’s tennis played in South Carolina; men’s and women’s crew teams spent their time in Georgia; and women’s lacrosse and softball and men’s lacrosse competed in Florida. One team even travelled internationally, as the women’s soccer team spent its break in Argentina.

Though the wins and losses are important for these squads, the results pale in comparison to the bonds formed during the week.

Spring break is a week where varsity players spend 24 hours a day with their teammates, learning one another’s pet peeves, nuances and what makes their teammates tick. The gap between freshman and senior begins to bridge, and teams become a unit: these athletes get to know their teammates better as people outside sport. Don’t believe me? Take it from the other athletes who explained their experiences to me.

“The awesome team bonding was playing four-square during our time off, telling stories on the [16-hour] bus and the skit night that we had,” junior Kevin Davie of the men’s crew team said.

 Senior Meredith Jones of the women’s soccer team said her favorite part of the trip was the day her squad spent a day riding horses at an Argentinian ranch.

 Senior baseball player Tim Henry said the squad met up with former baseball player John Timmons ’78 after the team finished its games in California.

“[Timmons] had us all over to eat and swim in the pool,” Henry said. “He also had a basketball court in the backyard. A few people were shooting around, next thing I know all 28 guys … are lining up to play a huge game of knockout. Biggest knockout game I’ve ever been a part of.”

This is the beauty of sport — it’s a tool to gather people together to create lasting memories like those our very own Bombers did.

As the entire men’s lacrosse team gathered around freshman midfielder Marc Sweeney and a random woman in the hotel lobby to watch the pair’s impromptu Jenga game, I realized that though the blocks would eventually fall, the structure had been built to last — at least for a little while.