As the spring semester comes to a close, teams with winning streaks and schedules that go past the end of finals week have to tell their families they are staying late — and not for graduation.
When teams do well enough to continue their season into the early summer, athletes must adjust accordingly in terms of accommodations and summer jobs or internships.
Last spring, softball, baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams had to stay past finals week. This season, baseball and members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams are currently guaranteed to stay past finals week, and other teams may as well, depending on how they perform at the Empire 8 Championships.
“Just to be on the safe side, I know myself, I’m not starting my clinical until I know we will be done,” graduate student Ally Runyon, a lacrosse attacker, said.
Though athletes have varying views about staying late, there are universal perks: It is a time of team bonding without the responsibilities of homework as they return to their dorm rooms after practice. Runyon said they enjoy having the campus to themselves and getting to focus on their plays.
“I think it would be nice to be able to take a break from school and be able to focus on lacrosse — rest your mind mentally and really focus on lacrosse,” Runyon said. “It can only make your game better to be 100 percent focused.”
Senior Ryan Henchey, a baseball catcher and third baseman, said seniors especially enjoy the time they have with their teammates after classes are over because it means they are ending their college athletic careers by achieving the goal of making it to important postseason games.
“It is a goal that we have right at the beginning of the year; We want to keep going on,” Henchey said. “Some people have to miss graduation depending on how far you go, but it’s a goal. You just want to keep playing baseball, especially as a senior. You never want it to end.”
Sophomore catcher Adam Gallagher said that summer employers are usually understanding when athletes need to stay at school longer than expected to finish their athletic seasons.
“I think the people that we work with hopefully understand that we have a priority first, and that’s school and baseball, and then hopefully, they can get past it and be understanding about it,” Gallagher said. “Once everyone else moves out and we’re still playing, they will work with us to make sure we have a place to stay, and everything is OK.”
When athletes are winding down their seasons with the most important games of the year, without classes, they can focus on improving their game and making sure their bodies are as healthy and capable as possible, Henchey said.
“You really just have got to focus on baseball,” he said. “Luckily, we don’t have schoolwork or anything else to focus on. Work out, make sure you’re doing the right thing and keep playing baseball. I think it [eventually] takes a toll on our bodies, but it’s all worth it in the end. You want to be here playing baseball.”
The balance of activities is different at the end of the spring semester because the focus is switched to the game, junior defender Molly Long said.
“I think it’s actually kind of nice [to stay] because we don’t have work, so we can kind of really focus on lacrosse and spend quality time with the team,” Long said. “But at the same time, it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, it’s getting into our summer.’ So it is a different balance because we’ve worked so hard to get past our school year, so we know that it’s really important, and it’s an enjoyable time to have with the team.”