During the first two weeks of March, many of the in-season Lords and Ladies did not return home. Instead, they either traveled south or stayed on campus to continue their season. The baseball, softball and tennis teams traveled to Florida while the golf and women’s lacrosse teams traveled to Hilton Head, S.C. The teams do not necessarily travel to the same location every year.
These trips are important for teams because it gives teammates a chance to develop chemistry as a team, play a number of games in a short time period and get away from the unpredictable Ohio weather. Because of the number of games played against non-conference opponents, these trips also give some athletes a chance at more playing time than they would normally get. However, these trips can get pricey, as the College spends about $1,000 per student athlete on these trips.
For baseball and softball, it is necessary to fit in around 40 games per season into a little more than a two-month-long period. Unlike sports like lacrosse, which can be played in rougher weather, baseball and softball are often rained out because of the high injury risk when playing on wet fields. Because of the potential for cancellations due to weather, it is important for the baseball and softball teams to fit in nearly half of their season total of games into their two-week trips to Florida.
“We are both blessed and cursed at Kenyon by having a two-week spring break,” Interim Director of Athletics Amy Williams said. “It is a blessing because even if we have games that are rained out, we have already played two full weeks’ worth of games over spring break. But it’s a curse because it costs so much for a team to travel for two weeks. Students also miss out on spring break and spending time at home with their families.”
“The value we put on our spring break trip is more than just adding one or two events on the schedule,” Sadiq Jiwa ’18, a senior on the golf team, said. “Spring break gives us a chance to really come together as a team away from campus, and builds the strength and camaraderie that lasts for the rest of our time at Kenyon.”
The budget of each trip includes travel, lodging and food and varies per team. While teams like baseball and softball travel to Florida and stay there for most (and sometimes all) of the two-week break, men’s lacrosse takes shorter trips while remaining based in Gambier for break.
The trips used to be fully funded by the families of student athletes before it became an issue with National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) equity rules, according to Williams. Now, the Athletic Program takes the cost of these trips with them when they plan the budget with the expectation that the coaches will help to increase the Kenyon fund by appealing to the parents for donations.
“I would hesitate calling them trips only because they aren’t luxurious events,” Williams said. “It is not like the teams are going on spring break.” While some of their fellow classmates also travel to warmer locations during Kenyon’s two-week break, the College’s student athletes on spring teams are just as busy, if not busier than they are during the school year.