Spring break: An athlete’s perspective

Rachel Hicks

While Washington and Lee moved to Gulf Shores, taking its bubbling merriment, a few ganglions remained on campus.  Most spring athletes were left in the skeleton of red brick buildings, destinationless.

Athletes have the opportunity to watch W&L transition, frame by frame, from dreary winter into glorious spring.  Bushes are trimmed, new mulch is introduced, grass is cut and conditioned to shine brighter, and anything dead or dirty is banished from the Kingdom of Pristine.

As a member of the tennis team, I was granted the pleasure of not spending spring break entirely destinationless.  The team was scheduled to play six matches in seven days, including Johns Hopkins, Christopher Newport and Virginia Wesleyan.

We traveled to both Virginia Beach and Baltimore, getting to see the ocean and the city.  While our beach trip was short lived, lasting a mere hour and a half, I was grateful for the respite.

As I strolled down the sandy shores, ignoring the touristy buildings to my right, my brain began entering the realm of switching into spring.  The misty salt spray brought a smile to my lips and alleviated the seemingly permanent stress lines on my upper forehead.  When my feet hit the chilly water, a shock ran through my veins, signaling my body to loosen up, relax and shed the gloom of winter.

All of a sudden, it was noon—time for us to play Virginia Wesleyan.  As we piled into the W&L van, my heart returned to its winter term beat, and my stress lines penciled themselves back in.  I’d had a glimpse of relaxation, but it was over before I could catch it.

Don’t get me wrong, playing tennis is wonderful, fun and exhilarating. It’s nothing short of my favorite pastime. However, is it too much to ask for a four day weekend or some sort of break from the same scenery and activities that dominated my life for the past eight months?  Just one day on the beach would have done the trick.

Line two singles player, Tessa Hill ‘19, recalls the positives of spring break with the team: “Spring break was a great time to bond with my teammates and really focus on tennis. Since we did not have any academic work, I felt that I was really able to enjoy my time off and build a stronger relationship with my team.”

It’s true, a week together packed like snug penguins in a van brought us much closer together.  We addressed pre-existing conflicts and created new inside jokes and secrets.

As Sarah Evans sang, “we have ying / we want yang.”  I would have loved to spend a week soaking up the sun on the beach away from the stress of three hour matches. However, looking back on all I learned about my teammates during this trip, I realize I wouldn’t want to spend spring break any other way.

My teammates are like my family, my home away from home.  They are always there to pick me up when I’m down or going through a hard time.  They’ve seen me on my worst and best days and love me anyway.  And this feeling is mutual. They are some of the most quality human beings I’ve ever come across.

Regardless of how much of a “break” it really was, a spring break spent with loved ones is a spring break well spent.