While most Keene State College students are excited to head back home for the holidays, KSC student-athletes who are currently in their winter seasons must endure the grind and stay committed to their team.
On top of missing a solid chunk of vacation time that non-athletes get, sometimes less than two weeks, student-athletes experience a change in their living situation as well. While still on campus with most of the student body back home for winter break, student-athletes must move into Carle Hall with their respective teams in an effort to keep everyone together and organized.
KSC senior and former cheerleader Rebecca Marquis said she cheered for three years at KSC and lived in Carle Hall with her teammates over winter break.
Marquis said, “At first I thought it would be so much fun being in the residential hall, getting to hang out with my team the whole time and just have fun bonding and stuff. While that did happen, everything else was kind of annoying and sometimes inconvenient.”
Looking back at the lack of time to decompress and enjoy a full vacation, Marquis said, “I absolutely think athletes need more time at home. Being a student-athlete already demands so much, having to stay on top of school work and perform at a collegiate level. Then on top of that, wanting to be social with friends and do more extracurriculars, things just pile up.”
When asked about why the move to Carle Hall is made for student athletes, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Kent Drake-Deese said Carle Hall was agreed upon for housing student-athletes on campus simply because it’s one of the residence halls closest to the gym.
The move from a student-athlete’s typical living situation to Carle Hall can be a strenuous one, especially for those who do not live close by.
Drake-Deese said, “I think a lot of them [student-athletes] don’t like to have to move because there is a lot of hassle if you don’t live in Carle.”
Drake-Deese has experience in the winter sports season, not only from his current position, but also from his days as a college basketball coach at St. Lawrence University, Brandeis University and the University of Scranton.
With basketball being a sport with a long season, including winter tournaments during holiday vacation, the chemistry a team has developed over time can make or break their season.
“Mostly because when you’re here during break, and there’s basically nobody around there’s a lot of team bonding,” Drake-Deese said.
At the same time, Drake-Deese said, in his experience, teammates can naturally get sick of each other after a while, as the long stretches without playing games, only practicing, can be frustrating.
KSC sophomore and member of the women’s swim team Margaret Dean has experience in making the move to Carle Hall and spending winter break with her team.
Dean said the process of moving into Carle Hall has varied throughout her time at Keene State as an athlete. Three years ago, she and her teammates had to approach the people living in the rooms at Carle and ask if they could stay there. Dean said now the process is much smoother, as mostly all of the logistical work of moving into Carle is done for them.
“I personally don’t like living in Carle,” Dean said. “It definitely can get a little crowded.”
At the same time, Dean said making the move and committing the extra time to the sport is completely expected of every athlete and a part of the process.
“They expect you to be fully committed up to the end,” Dean said. “It’s what you sign up for being a Division 3 athlete.”
Being a student-athlete is certainly something that takes tremendous drive and commitment, especially during tumultuous times in the sports schedule such as now, which Drake-Deese recognized.
“It takes a lot of commitment to be a division 3 athlete,” Drake-Deese said. “It’s a lot of time around the calendar. It’s a yearlong process so it does take a lot of determination and focus to be this level of athlete.”
Drake-Deese added that being a division 3 student-athlete, although not taken as seriously by the public eye, takes nearly the same amount of time and skill as it does for a division 1 athlete.
“There are certainly plenty of student-athletes here that work just as hard if not harder than some D1 athletes.”
Nick can be contacted at email@example.com