Track and field race their way to the beach

Photo+courtesy+track+and+field+team

Photo courtesy track and field team

Spring is a season of beginnings: the flowers are blooming, the snow is melting and the track and field team is forming new bonds down in Alabama.

Thirteen hours in a bus and practicing in the blistering sun can bring a team together in ways that are not attainable in the brisk, Michigan air. Overall, the team did really well and there were a lot of great performances.

The track and field team has been traveling to Alabama for spring break for a number of years. Half of the team left on a separate bus one day early for the first part of the meet at Birmingham-Southern College, a Division III school in Alabama.

The rest of the team met their teammates in Alabama on the second day, on which  the majority of the meet took place.

This past spring break was the team’s first time at this particular meet, because Calvin’s spring break was one week earlier than usual this year. Typically, the team goes to Rhodes College in Alabama.

Albion College and Hope College, two other teams in the MIAA conference, competed in the same meet as Calvin. This was also a change unique to this year’s spring break trip.

Although the team competed in Birmingham, the duration of their trip was spent relaxing on the sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, where they stayed at the Sea Winds Condominiums. The team’s days consisted of warming up in the hot sun, working hard at practice and scurrying back to their condos to get ready to hit the beach.

After dinner, a boys’ condo and a girls’ condo would go on a “Condo Date.” This is a tradition developed by the track and field team over the years. The two condos eat dinner together and then play games, go out for ice cream or go on “Beach walks” – similar to the familiar “Calvin walks.”

“It isn’t until after this trip that we really feel like a team,” said senior Kelley Tuinenga. “It’s sad that it is in the middle of the season. With such a large team it is hard to get to know each other unless you spend quality time together, which is what this week is about.”

The spring break trip is crucial to the connection the team forms and the hard training and focus that is necessary to launch the team into their outdoor season.

Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, Tuinenga says, “Now our goal is to funnel the good energy that we had over the training trip and continue that in practice and then in our meets.”