It's 5:15pm and I’m sippin’ a java with Lindsey Corsaro in Santa Monica.
It’s Christmas break.
Everyone’s favorite time of year. It’s when the girls get to focus on one thing and one thing only— basketball.
And then after basketball…
Instead of cramming for midterms, cranking out a 5-page paper, or stressing over that calculus homework you forgot how to do, you get to sit back, relax, and do as professional basketball players do.
Just for a month you get to take the student out of student-athlete.
You take a little extra time in the ice bath. You shoot a few more shots than normal. You study the scout a little more. You really embrace your role.
And then afterwards… it's back to play.
Everyone else on campus is gone. Football’s over. The students are back home drinking eggnog with mom and dad. But the men’s and women’s basketball teams? They’re in the gym.
December 26th is never an easy date. The clock strikes 5:30pm and practice begins. The few days you’re allotted for break whizz by. The Holiday Ham catches up with you too. It’s especially not easy for the long distance bunch. I remember leaving for school on Christmas night one year. Some coaches even schedule practice Christmas Day. But as hard as it might be, once everyone arrives back on campus, your family #2 steps right into its role.
Whether it’s movie nights, coffee runs, late night walks through an empty campus, lunch dates with the men’s team, or Groupon Six Flags splurges post-practice, the team really gets to enjoy their time as teammates.
I feel like it’s time to truly bond with your sisters. You have no worries in the world. All you have to do is play basketball, eat, and sleep. An athlete’s dream come true.
There’s something special about giving your all for a common cause. About waking up early, staying late, surrendering a few days of Christmas break, getting to know your teammates on a different level, and dedicating every waking moment with a group of people all in search of the same goal.
The girls may not be at home, they may feel lonely or miss the familiar feeling of family, but Christmas break is when the second family is born. It’s when it solidifies the team, its togetherness, and its dedication.
It's when practices become battlefields.
It's when teammates sacrifice as sisters.
It’s when team becomes family.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our UCLA Basketball Family to yours!