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April 1, 2019

Basketball | A Day in the Life of an Amherst College Women’s Basketball Player

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A day in the life of a DIII women’s basketball player at a top liberal arts college. Academics come first, end of story. Many of the athletics compete at the top of DIII and the combination of academics and athletics is what sells Amherst College. Our athletic schedules revolve around academics. We only play conference games on Friday and Saturdays. Weekday games are few and far between – mainly only non-conference, which happen over winter break when no classes are not going on.

As a history and economics major, I only have each class meet twice a week for an hour and twenty minutes. The science, math and language majors usually meet 3 to 4 times a week depending, and the duration varies too.

Monday madness occurs – Sunday scaries occur at Amherst College for the women’s basketball team. A Monday starts with our team getting an early morning breakfast in. Everyone is usually miserable and stressed about what the week has coming. We usually all have a refreshing smoothie or a fried egg sandwich to start the day. Nothing like an egg sandwich but if the toaster line is too long it makes the Monday start that much worse – why only offer three toasters for an entire school? Much of my daily life revolves around food.

Everyone that has a morning class high tales it out of the dining hall at 9:50 to get to class by 10. Well, that means everyone is trying to get rid of their utensils and plates at the same time. No one wants to stand in line to get out of the dining hall, but no one also wants to get to class early to avoid the lines. The struggle is real.

I would power through two classes back to back. Try to do my best to participate but not a huge contributor in class discussions; although, Amherst professors highly encourage students to be confident to speak up in class. Classes are typically very small at Amherst College. The student to faculty ratio is 8:1.

In between my two classes, I check out the online portal to see what the lunch and dinner options are for the week. Our team group chat has ruthless comments regarding our food options if it is something great or a horrible option. The day revolves around when we could meet in the dining hall and what our options are. We always joke about who can be the most creative with what is available on the days with the worst meals.

Lunch is either an hour adventure to hang out or a quick fly by depending on how much work everyone has to get done before their next class or practice. I am the one that usually puts off work and enjoys socializing in the dining hall. Our dining hall is typically split, especially during lunch and dinner, of athletes and narps (no athletic regular persons). Not that there is a purposeful divide, but we have a back room with larger tables, so naturally teams like to sit at these tables because they can sit in larger groups. Who would have thought in college, who you are sitting with at lunch and dinner would feel like middle school? Scary stuff sometimes if you do not know if your teammates are in the dining hall and you come around the corner and do not see anyone you are close with.

Time to hit the library. Amherst’s library is named after Robert Frost – we call it ‘Frost.’ A scary place to be on a Monday but I find it to be the most productive place to get work done. It is a library after all. Just like the dining hall, Frost is split up by floors of the different kinds of students. The second floor is where you go if you do not have a ton of work and want to socialize – I avoid this floor. The higher and lower you go the scarier the library gets – it becomes a place where you can hear a needle drop and there are no windows. You receive a death glare if you try to talk on the quiet floors.

My favorite spot is the 3rd floor where I can look out onto the quad, but it is also very quiet. A productive spot. The library also has small rooms students can reserve to collaborate with one another. I use them when we have a problem set due or studying and we want to work together and discuss the work.

Finally, the fun part of the day! We try to lift before practice and as a team since the basketball team is relatively small – around 12 or 14 women. We schedule lift times at the start of the week with our lifting coach so we can create groups if some have class right up until practice. Everyone is held accountable to get the two lifts in during the season and the three lifts out of season.

Practice is typically two hours – five to seven or six to eight. That never really goes perfectly. During NESCAC playoffs and the NCAA tournament practice is pretty long. Our coach does not have us pounding for two and a half hours, but it will be a lot of discussing the opponents and what we need to do against them to get the win. Break down is pretty key postseason. A Monday practice in the postseason will be a lot of skill work on ourselves and maybe at most six to eight minutes of five on five full court.

After practice, a dining hall ‘Val Sit’ usually occurs, which means we head there after practice and chill until it closes down at nine o’clock. The staff knows us so well because we spend so much more time in there compared to everyone else so they always make jokes like, “you guys should just sleep in here!” Not having many of the school breaks allows us to create relationships with the staff especially at the dining hall, which I enjoy. Everyone is so kind and welcoming – making Amherst inviting!

I am usually checked out after practice, so I do not do much work after unless I have an exam the following day. I love to end a Monday during Bachelor / Bachelorette season enjoying the show with some other fans. After a long day, there is nothing like a little Chris Harrison facetime to give you a chuckle! Just like that, you grinded out the day in the life of a DIII women’s basketball player.