Among the great traditions of Deerfield sports- Choate Day, honoring graduating seniors, and wearing class dress to away games- are the annual spring break preseason trips.
Three boys’ teams and two girlss teams will make the trip to various locations this March. The boys’ baseball team will travel to Clearwater, Florida, while both crew teams are moving from their previous location, Sarasota, Florida, to Boston. In addition, the boys’ lacrosse team will relocate from Orlando to Clearwater.
Spring preseason is an important time for the varsity teams, as most of the team bonds and camaraderie are created over the week of the trip. “Every year the team changes with graduations, PGs, and the new sophomores/freshmen. Preseason is the time the team really comes together and builds team chemistry,” said boys’ varsity lacrosse co-captain Will Swindell ’11.
Teams often go through two to three practices daily, which takes an extreme mental and physical toll on the athletes, especially under the heat of the Florida sun.
“We all are going through the same thing and that keeps the team together through the entire season,” explained Bobby Osgood ’11, another boys’ varsity lacrosse co-captain.
Meanwhile, for the girls’ crew team, “preseason is an important time for the boats to gain a kind of congruency and gain a mutual respect for each other,” said Coach Wayne Berger.
Another important aspect of the preseason trips is ensuring the captains emerge as the team leaders on and off the field.
“I think the biggest thing I can do as captain is to make sure everybody feels included,” said varsity baseball captain Mat Denunzio ’11.
“It is important for the older members to set an example not only in work ethic, but how they carry themselves on and off the field.”
But preseason isn’t only about getting to know each other on and off the field. Conditioning and forging a team identity are equally important goals of these preseason trips.
Fortunately the team gets some off time from the intense practices and hard work. The coaches and captains ensure that the entire team enjoys themselves.
“Last year we went to Universal Studios for a day, but this year we moved to a new place near the beach, so I’m really looking forward to spending some time hanging out,” said Swindell. The lacrosse team is also looking forward to spending time with the girls’ lacrosse team, which will be staying at the same hotel as the boys in Florida.
Each year, players look forward to the preseason trips not only to spend time with friends and teammates in Florida, but also to challenge themselves physically and mentally in practices.
Denunzio summed it up, saying, “I love the preseason trips because when we all get through it the team emerges closer and more prepared for the season ahead.”