Over winter break, the majority of NYU students packed their belongings and made their way home for the month long break. Student athletes’ breaks, however, were cut short by the need to train. Just after New Years, they had to return to the empty NYU campus to begin the most intense practices of their season.
Without classes, teams can practice longer and more frequently. Junior Matt Eulau believes that the time is crucial to staying in peak shape for the rest of the wrestling season.
“I love my family and friends back home,” Eulau said, “But a whole month would be way too much ‘relaxing at home’ for me to handle. Personally I enjoy the winter sessions. Although it means two workouts a day, it’s a time where the team is able to focus purely on our athletic goals. During the semester we walk a fine line between trying to do our best in school but making sure we aren’t too burnt out from studying to make our practice time count.”
During break, the NYU campus is mostly empty. Friends have left and without classes there can seem to be a lack of things to do. For many students that can be frustrating and lonely, especially during a time when being with one’s family is so important. But it can also be a time to hang out with teammates and build a stronger bond, or a time to explore the city. Without the pressures of classes, students like junior basketball forward Megan Dawe are free to check out parts of the city they hadn’t had time for during
“It’s always hard coming back early in that, at least for basketball, we are usually flying back the day after Christmas,” said Dawe. “The campus is empty besides the few teams that come back, but it’s also fun knowing that when we come back we just get to focus on our sport and hang out with the team. Then during the hours we’re not at Coles, we have free time to explore the city — time most of us don’t really have when school starts up again.”
It is important to remember spending extra time at school is part of the deal. Time away from family and friends is a small price to pay for many athletes on scholarship, like junior Nathan Pike, who need to remain at the top of their game.
“You still have friends out here as well as your teammates,” said Pike. “You also have to remember that we signed up for this. Coming in as an athlete you already know how much time you’re going to be putting in. It’s all part of the commitment. Having said that, I feel that I actually improved the most in wrestling during this winter break.”
It can be a lot of work, but the athletes take precautions not to be overworked. At the end of the day, they wouldn’t have it any other way; it is just one of many opportunities to improve upon their craft.
A version of this article appeared in the Jan. 26 print edition. Email Kyle Luther at [email protected]