Florida A&M University students planned to leave classes as early as last Tuesday in an effort to arrive home to be with family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday.
But many athletes had to celebrate with teammates and coaches as they traveled for competition or stayed in Tallahassee to train.
“There aren’t really any breaks during track season for us,” said Omari Crawford, a junior political science student from Atlanta, who got a chance to return home.
Contrary to Craword’s experience, the FAMU women’s basketball team spent yet another year with each other as they played Wake Forest and Eastern Carolina in North Carolina last week.
The team enjoyed the mouth-watering aromas of turkey with all the fixing as they indulged in the decadent food at the home of a former player, Charon Williams, in North Carolina on Thanksgiving.
Although they were not with their immediate families, the warm feelings of camaraderie and appreciation in the atmosphere were reminiscent of the feelings between the players and their families.
“Being with each other helped us become closer,” said Secrett Anderson, a freshman business administration student from Arlington, Texas.
As a freshman, the transition from high school to college may not necessarily be a smooth one. But Anderson has seemed to adjust easily to the demands of her basketball schedule.
“At first I was really sad, (but) I already knew it was coming,” Anderson said about being away from home.
Many times, athletes’ parents attend their children’s home and away games to show support.
Anderson’s parents were unable to attend the game. However, Anderson made it clear that just as her teammates are like sisters, the coaches often fill the void of the supportive parents.
Due to the demands of practices, conditioning and the games themselves, student athletes are expected to juggle a rigorous schedule. Most times, this means missing time with family and friends to play a successful game.
Anderson said spending time with her teammates makes a big difference. “It was good for the team. We got a chance to bond and watch movies.”
Sophomore guard Deidra Jones said she knows how important it is to have that special connection among the team members.
“Because we are around each other 24/7, it helps our performance because it builds chemistry,” said Jones, a pharmacy student from Powder Springs, Ga. “We first played against Wake Forest and lost, but everyone contributed to the game.”
Contributions and connections from one player to the next seemed to be the underlying theme for the women’s basketball team during the break.
As the Lady Rattlers get ready to play against their rival, the Bethune-Cookman College Lady Wildcats, they will attempt to show the crowd how much chemistry they developed over the break.
Despite the loss in North Carolina, Jones said morale remains high as they prepare to play against the Lady Wildcats later this week in one of FAMU’s most awaited games.
“We are like one big joking family, and we are friends too. So it works out well,” Jones said.