Student athletes at work during break

Spring break is here, but for student athletes, it’s just another day at the office. Instead of Cancun, the softball team will be headed to Atlanta for the Buzz Classic.

For freshman outfielder/infielder Alyssa Watts, a general education student, this is the first spring break of her college career. Given the opportunity, she would take off.

“I probably would go home,” said the Bellevue, Wash., native. “I already went home this school year for Thanksgiving and Christmas break.”

Even though, by her standards, Bellevue is not the typical spring break destination.

“It’s a suburb of Seattle,” said Watts. “It’s a major city in Washington, but it’s not a hangout spot.”

For the members of the softball team the first half of the break will be spent on the diamond. But there’s always hope.

“We might have a few days,” said catcher Ashley Smith, a freshman Spanish student from Decatur, Ga. She hopes to spend any time off resting and catching up on her schoolwork, which can add up after being on the road for several days.

But Smith wouldn’t go home even if she had the chance.

“I like school. I like the people,” Smith said. “There isn’t much to do at home.” Given the free time, Smith would like to go to the beach at Daytona instead.

Watts would also like to relax by the beachside, but said she would settle for some downtime. She hopes to do something not involving softball.

That is unlikely though, since the Lady Rattlers’ regimen is so demanding.

“It varies from fall to spring,” Watts said. “The fall schedule is more rigorous.”

Watts wakes up at 8 a.m. and goes to class until 1 p.m. Practice begins at 3:30 p.m., but she usually checks in at 2 p.m. to get extra hits. After practice ends at 6:30 p.m., Watts goes to the weight room for conditioning where she finishes at 8 p.m.

This is the Lady Rattlers’ routine Monday through Friday. Coach Veronica Wiggins said it is unlikely the Lady Rattlers will get any time off during the break.

“We have the FSU tournament after (the Buzz Classic),” Wiggins said. “This is our time,” she said of the spring athletics programs.

Georgia Tech hosts the Buzz Classic. Florida A&M University will join 18 teams March 4. FAMU will face Wisconsin, Radford, University of Texas El Paso and Georgia State in pool play March 3-4, which can lead to single elimination play March 4-5.

“I don’t underestimate anyone,” Wiggins said. “I am expecting us to show up for every game.”

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