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Celebrating a blue and gold Christmas: UNK athletes spend holidays on the court instead of in front of a fireplace
Matt Tomjack
Guest Writer
Photo by staff
Photo by staff

As you head home for the holidays, keep in mind that not everyone is so lucky. The members of the UNK men’s and women’s basketball teams and the men of the wrestling team have to remain here in Kearney for part of their break. As we all head home for some much needed relaxation, these athletes compete for the pride of UNK.

For all three of these teams, their semester break is limited to around a week. “When all of the other students are gone, it can get semi-lonely in the dorms,” said Vanessa Leeper, a business marketing major from Colorado Springs, Colo. “Other than that, it is nice being able to focus on basketball and having a laid-back schedule.”

Athletes must improvise and make the best of the situation. “I think for the younger guys this break is tough because it’s their first time away from their family for Christmas. As for the older guys I think we’ve learned to accept it,” said Taylor May, an agri-business major from Imperial.

According to May the athletes consider each other family, especially during the holidays. “I believe that we are one big family away from a small one.  Each of us plays an instrumental role in the program, and when you bring all the instruments together, it’s just about like being at home surrounded by family. That helps keep our morale up during break.”

Coaches take notice of the strain placed upon their athletes and  take action to lighten the load. “In years past we’ve had a little fun with some of our conditioning workouts.  This has included an array of different sports,” May said.

While being away from your family can be disheartening for these athletes, they all agree that there are perks to competing during the break. “It’s great not having to worry about homework and being able to focus solely on basketball,” said Josiah Parker, a senior business management and pre-physical therapy major from Lincoln. Parker, May and Leeper all agree that this break would be a lot worse if they didn’t have their teammates by their side.

As you are sitting around your house, keep those who are competing for you in your thoughts. You can rest assured that these athletes will do everything they can to bring their respective championships back to UNK. I think May put it best when he says “Happy Holidays and Go Lopers!”


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