Mercer athletes give thanks during holiday season

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Mercer athletes give thanks during holiday season

Savannah Byrd shows off her polaroid collection.

Savannah Byrd shows off her polaroid collection.

Emily Harvey

Savannah Byrd shows off her polaroid collection.

Emily Harvey

Emily Harvey

Savannah Byrd shows off her polaroid collection.

Emily Harvey, Staff Writer

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For most students, Thanksgiving offers a much needed break from school and an equally satisfying opportunity to put on stretchy pants and eat to your stomach’s content.

However, for the athletes on campus, this is not always the case.

Whether it be practices, games or tournaments, there are several reasons why some Mercer athletes may be unable to travel home this November.

Mac Brydon, a freshman on the basketball team, isn’t quite sure what he’ll be doing when Nov. 24 rolls around.

“I might be able to go home, but I have nothing confirmed,” Brydon said. There is a basketball tournament over the break, but as a redshirt freshman, Brydon considers himself “a special case” as far as travelling goes.

If he travels with the team, Brydon is sure they will “go out as a team and celebrate together.” Regardless of where and with whom he celebrates, when asked what he was most thankful for this year, Brydon was quick to answer, “God, family and college basketball.”

Austin Barrett, a junior football player, faces a similar situation. As far as being able to go home, “it really depends on how the tail end of our season turns out,” Barrett said. He believes with the team’s current standings, there is “a 50-50 chance” they could make it to the playoffs.

If the football team does make it to the playoffs, Barrett and the rest of the team will have to stay behind during the break. No matter what happens with the end of their season, Barrett said he is most thankful for his “family for always being behind me, no matter what.”

Other athletes, like Jaya Alaan, a junior softball player, are more certain of their plans.

She didn’t get to go home last Thanksgiving, but Alaan will be headed home to southern California this break. “I’m surprising my parents, so they have no idea I’m coming home,” she said.

Although Alaan dealt with homesickness her freshman year, she said “now that I’m a junior, I’ve settled in and know how to manage being away from my family.” One way she has dealt with homesickness is by “decking out” her dorm room with California decorations to remind of her of family, which she is the most thankful for.

Savannah Byrd, a freshman cheerleader, had no doubt that she would be spending Thanksgiving at home with her family. “My family and my friends are a huge part of my life,” Byrd said. Those are more than just words, as she keeps a large collection of Polaroid photos in her room to remind her of home.

Like many athletes at Mercer, Byrd doesn’t know what her schedule will look like in the future, which is why she said, this year “I am most thankful for any time I get to spend with my family.”

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