Practice on Thanksgiving Day? That has to be wrong. But for the men's and women's basketball teams here at Chapman, that's a harsh reality.
Both teams are in full swing during the Thanksgiving holiday when most students are back at home stuffing their faces with as much turkey and stuffing as humanly possible. How are the players supposed to enjoy the holidays when they are amidst a crucial point in their seasons? Two words: team traditions.
For the women's team, it's "teamsgiving".
Senior guard Jaime Hum-Nishikado explains one of their most special traditions. "We normally do a 'teamsgiving' together, so we all do a pot luck and each class is assigned certain foods and we come together and watch movies and eat. That's what we do every year."
This year, though, is a little different. They are doing something they have never done before.
"We're actually going to a UCLA vs. UConn game this year, which is really exciting. It kind of made us push forward our 'teamsgiving', but we're all really excited", said senior guard Irma Munoz.
Hum-Nishikado describes what it's like not being from the area and having practice on Thanksgiving day. "The last three years we haven't had practice on Thanksgiving, so normally people can go home. There's a few players not from here and my mom comes down, some of our family comes down to be with us or we can go to a friend's house."
The men's team does things a little different.
"When we were in Hawaii we decided to go to the beach and play football for a couple of hours", says senior guard Tyler Green. "Then we went in the water and hung out and had a nice team meal at the hotel."
Then the next year they travelled to Oregon. "When we were in Portland one of the families invited some guys over for Thanksgiving dinner, which was really nice."
But what about this year? The men's team has a game at Whittier the day after Thanksgiving, so they're staying local for the first time in a few years.
"Usually we will go grab a meal after practice at Pizza Press or Jersey Mike's. Just something easy. We just try to make it as least stressful as possible, focusing on basketball. I think this year, though, a couple local guys on the team might invite people over after practice to have dinner with their families."
Several of the players are away from home during the holidays, so it's important to the players to keep their team traditions alive and act as a second family for those that can't be with their own. Even the most simple things like a yearly "teamsgiving" or playing a small game of football on the beach can bring the players closer together during the holiday season.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant