Being far away from home is difficult for any college student, especially when freshmen first leave the familiarity of their hometown and have to adjust to life on their own. Athletes meet people right away and are busy practicing, which keeps them distracted, but it’s still hard to leave a familiar place.
The winter sport athletes have less than a week and a half off for winter break. This isn’t much time, especially for those from thousands of miles away.
Sophomore and basketball player Kyra Huffman from Sacramento, Calif., doesn’t enjoy the short break, but realizes it is what she signed up for.
“We have an entire six weeks and I only get eight days of that,” Huffman said. “I think it’s kind of bogus but it’s alright. But you play a sport, you make a commitment so that’s your choice. It’s still pretty fun being on campus because you hang out with all of your teammates and have a good time.”
Huffman had a successful season last year, with an average of 11.4 points per game, leading the team in this category. She started 17 of the 23 games the Fire played in the 2016-2017 season.
Junior Morgan Potter, from Huntington Beach, Calif., plans to go home for the break, but ends up with only six days to spend with her family due to travel time.
“It just kind of sucks because you miss home and want to see your family but it was definitely worse freshman year,” Potter said. “But the days go by fast since you usually have two-a-days and are tired a lot of the time,”
For New Year’s, the teams get to spend the holiday together.
“We’re supposed to all be together that night. We all choose a place and our coaches come and we get to spend it like a little family,” Potter said.
Potter averaged 9.1 points per game and played in all 23 of the women’s games last season.
Both men’s and women’s basketball teams play on Dec. 29 and must return to campus in time for practices to start.
For freshman basketballer Giannis Tsahageas, it’s especially hard because he’s from Athens, Greece. His parents will come to Galesburg for the duration of his ten-day break to celebrate Christmas.
“I like being here because I really love basketball, it’s nice. But on the other side, I miss home a lot. It’ll be a whole year until summer when I go back home,” Tsahageas said.
Tsahageas is recovering from a minor ankle injury and is excited to play with such a talented group of guys.
Morgan Leslie, a freshman who also plays volleyball from Denver, Col., will go home for her 10 days, but has a different take on the pros and cons.
“We just chill with our basketball family over the break. I’ll be a little homesick since it’ll be my first year away but hopefully ball will keep me distracted a little bit,” Leslie said.
Leslie has been performing well at practices and was a dynamic player on the volleyball team.
Alik Airapetyan, a junior from Los Angeles, says he is satisfied with the short break because the team is playing two games in California this season, on Dec. 15 and 16.
“Luckily, this year we actually go to California to play some games. It sucked last year though because we had to come back the day after Christmas. We practiced on the 26th. You miss your family a lot,” Airapetyan said.
Airapetyan is looking forward to a strong season with his teammates.
The men graduated five players off the Fire at the end of last season but the women had no seniors. This season, the women will have six seniors.
The Prairie Fire has players from all over the U.S., including Arizona, Colorado, California, Nevada and Oregon. The men also have a couple of players from Greece.
The women open against Eureka College on Nov. 15 at home, and the men play on Nov. 21 at Greenville College.