Winter break: athletes edition


contributed by Avery Bibbey

Senior gymnast Avery Bibbey practices her beam routine at gym every day. Bibbey is a level 10 at USA Illusions and has been doing gymnastics her whole life.

For most students, winter break is a time that brings relaxation and pure excitement. The two weeks between semesters includes multiple holidays that most students tend to look forward to. For student athletes, however, the perspective is quite different.

“The only days I really get off are Christmas and New Years,” said senior gymnast Avery Bibbey, “I don’t think I’ve ever really traveled over winter break for the past 8 or 9 years because I’ve had to be home for practice meets.”

Bibbey went on to explain that the longest break they get throughout the whole year is about one entire week during the fourth of July. Other than that, they get off Thanksgiving day, Christmas day (sometimes Christmas Eve too), and occasionally New Years Day depending on if they have a competition that week (which, usually, they do).

“I still look forward to not having to stress about school and fitting it all around my gym schedule, but I can’t mentally check out all the way because I still have gym to focus on which can be tiring sometimes,” said Bibbey. 

For a lot of families, winter break is the “big” break, full of vacations and traditions that can not happen at any other point throughout the year. Whether it be family coming into town or an annual family vacation, there are all sorts of traditions families have surrounding the winter holidays. Student athletes still have busy schedules during the break and usually families cannot revolve their celebrations around the athlete’s schedule.

“We usually rotate between flying to Utah to visit my cousins or them flying to us, but because I usually have practice the week before or after Christmas, it makes planning the trips difficult and most of the time I do not get to stay or see them for as long as I wish I could,” said senior tennis player Kortney Welch.

With school sports, it is ultimately up to the coach whether or not they want to schedule practice or participate in any tournaments during break. Most do choose to have practice, and for winter sports, that sometimes means all the way up until Christmas Eve and starting up again the day after Christmas. Leaving the athletes that participate in these sports with less of a break than the “two weeks off” implies. But for some, it is not as big of an issue as it may seem. 

“I choose to play, and I enjoy it. It’s fun and it’s better than sitting around at home doing nothing,” said senior soccer player Patrick Viboolmate.

Whether it is high school or club, or requires missing out on important events or not, these athletes dedicate so much of their time to their sports, and the holidays are no exception.