A necessary investigation into winter training

The basketball and swim teams spend several weeks on campus with no other student life; what happens?

As a child I asked so many questions that in the fourth grade, the official notes from the psychiatrist who diagnosed me with severe ADD credited my continuous questions as the reason “Elise is so isolated from her peers.” I’m slightly less annoying now but I still have many questions. Like: “How did I get into Trinity?” “Why didn’t boys like me in high school?” “Where does water come from?” (The answers, respectively: to fill a country-kid quota, my personality and the sky — specifically clouds).

Bigger than all those questions though, is the lingering query that keeps me up at night: What happens during winter training?

Judging from my Instagram feed, most Trinity students spend their winter break in the mountains or on a beach or in a city with twinkly lights. However, for swimmers and basketball players, apart from a short break for the magical days surrounding Christmas and half of Hanukkah, winter break is spent at the beautiful urban campus of Trinity University.

What did those athletes do during this time, colloquially referred to as winter training? You may assume training, but as part of my healthy practice of refusing to believe anything them city-slickers tell me, I set out to find the truth.

I did a lot of research. I talked to so many people. Not about winter training, I’m just really popular. But I did talk to people about winter training, mainly the people that were here during winter training: basketball players and swimmers.

I learned very quickly, and much to my surprise, that winter training involved a lot of training. For the swimmers, winter break was filled with pruny fingers and an inescapable smell of chlorine. I also discovered that the swimmers are now in taper, which is a physical cool down period, and not, as I originally suspected, slang for an aquatic type of tapeworm.

“We played a ton of Smash Mario,” said David Smith, when cornered in the laundry room. “And we ate a bunch of eggs and tacos.”

I knew they were hiding something, but I did not know what.

If the swimmers weren’t going to talk, I was going to have to go to the basketball players.

I went first to members of the men’s basketball team. Sophomores Matthew Colliflower and Kevin Owens shaved their heads during winter training, so I assumed they had interesting things to share. I was wrong.

I decided to conduct this interview from a friendship angle, hoping to get more information. However, after a few minutes of fun, playful banter in which I dissed out some savage burns (unable to be printed due to sensitivity issues), I found the once-friendly basketball players now did not want to share with me for some reason. However, I figured I could get information from them by following an age-old journalism trick: refusing to leave. So I did not leave for several hours and eventually got some interesting information. Here’s what I found:

From Dec. 15 to 18, the basketball players stayed at school. They came back on Dec. 27.

“I guess it’s kind of sad being away from our families so quick,” Owens said. “But it’s fun cause all we do is hang out and play basketball.”

While some parents may miss their children, they are mostly understanding.

“They understand that ball is life,” Colliflower said.

“We played a lot of board games. We played Monopoly, Risk, Texas Hold ‘Em, Five-Card Draw, Mafia, Town of Salem,” Colliflower said. “Watched a lot of ‘The Office,’ a lot of movies.”

As previously mentioned, both Colliflower and Owens shaved their heads.

“I wanted a mohawk,” Owens said. “I was like, ‘Yolo’”

I also learned the men’s basketball team had a Secret Santa gift exchange and there was a lot of sauces exchanged, probably to use with the eggs. Owens received a unicorn pillow.

At this point, I had discovered some information, but nothing that would change the world. I was dead inside and I truly felt my investigation was coming to a dead end. It was then that I sat down for a nice chat with women’s basketball player, Rebecca Gordon, junior, the first person to willingly comply with my investigation. What I found was better than anything I could ever imagine.

“At the beginning of every year the freshmen have to choreograph and sing a song in front of the entire team,” Gordon said. “The whole restaurant was full and we made them stand up in the back of the restaurant.”

Junior transfer-student Micah Weaver was not spared the tradition, as she and first-year Victoria Trabysh performed “Ice Ice Baby” for the packed house. Their performance was followed by Jillian Cready and Abby Holland’s rendition of The Black Eyed Peas “My Humps.”

“It’s fun to watch but not fun to do,” Gordon said.

Becca Gordon also informed me of the one other eventful thing from winter training: sophomore Alex Duncan lost her authentic Christmas thrift store skirt on the side of the road, which was later found by Weaver.

And with that there was a shift in the rankings of “The Best Personalities Of Trinity Teams According to Elise and Elise Only.” No. 1 is still women’s soccer because sicknasty hype videos. No. 2 is softball because blade gang or die. No. 3 is now women’s basketball because they sing in restaurants. No. 4 is baseball because they say hi when I blade by. No. 5 is the Acabellas, even though they are not technically a sports team, because of their sweet, sweet harmonies. Everyone else is tied.

In conclusion, there were no synchronized swimming or full-court dance numbers, just a lot of practice, “Smash Bros,” a lost skirt and one unicorn.

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Sports Writer | Class of 2019 | Major: Communications | Minor: Sport Management