Base running drills in a near blizzard? Practice putting in the snow? Get outta town!
That's exactly what five of Brooks' spring sports teams did this March break, jetting from freezing New England to Florida and South Carolina for about a week of pre-season practice in warmer weather.
Boys baseball kicked off the exodus on March 15. Twenty-three players and two coaches flew down to Orlando to train at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex within the Walt Disney World Resort for seven days.
"Getting students together to have any travel experience outside of Brooks is a bonus," said head coach and Dean of College Counseling Andy Campbell. "When it's getting together to play the sport that they love, it's that much more special."
Games with other independent schools visiting the complex, and time to practice skills in the sun, jumpstarted the season in a way simply impossible back at home. "From the time we arrived to our departure, the rate of improvement for every student was outstanding," said Campbell. "The kids got a lot of work done — and when you're at Disney, there is always a lot to do with free time too."
The highlight of the trip, though, was all about baseball: a double header on the final day. All 23 of the players on Brooks' team contributed with multiple at-bats. "We swept it and it was a great sendoff," said the coach. "We didn't go down there to win games, but it's good to establish that feeling within the group heading into the season."
The team's first official game is slated for April 7, at home, versus Tabor Academy. Visit the Athletics Teams & Schedules page for the full spring lineup.
Crew journeyed down to The Clemson University Outdoor Lab on Lake Hartwell in Clemson, South Carolina on March 17. For eight days, the team of 50 worked out and rowed with five Brooks coaches on the man-made reservoir. "We've seen nothing but flat water and bass fishmermen by the hundreds," said Rowing Director Tote Smith from the camp and conference center.
Being able to focus solely on rowing allowed the athletes to advance quickly. "Having a week of undivided attention to learning an efficient rowing stroke is invaluable," said Smith. "We can pack a month or more of experience into [a few] days." The result? "Novices turn into rowers and rowers into leaders," he added.
And because most of the team's members learned the sport at Brooks, the squad is "a great melting pot for students of all backgrounds, from three-season varsity athletes to some of our leading artists and scholars," said the coach. "This early week of time together away from school and away from their normal routine of school seems to reinforce what they all have in common: Brooks!"
The boys and girls 1st teams' first meets are slated for April 7, at home, versus The Dexter Southfield School. Visit the Athletics Teams & Schedules page for the full spring lineup.
"Getting off campus has been a great start to the season," said girls 1st lacrosse coach and mathematics and science teacher Stacy Turner of her team's trip. The 27 players, and two additional coaches, traveled to Tampa, Florida for five days of games and practice at the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex in Clearwater, Florida from March 19 to 23.
"Spending time together on and off the field has been a great experience for the girls," added the coach. "Especially for the fact that returning players were able to assist the new players and make them feel welcome."
Boys lacrosse had a similarly productive experience in Florida, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando from March 19 to 23.
"Aside from being able to practice in better weather conditions — sun, warmth, great grass fields — this trip brings the boys together and builds relationships," said head coach and English Department Chair Dean Charpentier P'20.
The fun that the team's 20 athletes had at the Disney parks during down time was helpful for their game as well. "Sharing those experiences, we get to know each other a little bit better," he added. "Long-term, that helps us become the best team we can be."
The girls 1st team's first game is slated for March 31, at home, versus The Kimball Union Academy; boys 1st team's first faceoff is April 7, at home, versus Tabor Academy. Visit the Athletics Teams & Schedules page for the full spring lineup.
Because it's called a practice green, not white, the golf team also traveled far from our snow-covered campus to start their season's practice.
Eleven players and two coaches flew down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for five days on March 22. "It was a very fun trip and everybody hit really good shots," said coach and Director of Communications Dan Callahan P'19, P'20.
It wasn't, however, was a balmy getaway. "The weather wasn't warm," he added. "But that actually gave the players good experience playing in less than ideal weather. Many hopefully learned from this trip that they should check the weather and dress appropriately for games."
Still, the practice went on, with gloves and hand warmers, at four area courses: the Arrowhead Country Club, the West Course and the King's North Course at Myrtle Beach National, as well as the Prestwick Country Club.
And while the golfers will have to hit the driving range at back home while they wait for their competition schedule and the white stuff to melt on North Andover-area courses, they showed ingenuity in getting in extra practice during the trip. Callahan said, "After golfing all day and returning to the hotel, during downtime a group went out twice and worked on their putting by playing mini golf!"
OTHER RECENT STORIES
Living His Dream
Brooks Film Society founder Max McGillivray '12 is making good on his movie making dreams — in the finals of a competitive filmmaking competition!
La Dolce Vita
Students got a taste of the good life in Italy, with an 11-day trip to Tuscany during March break.
Under the Sea — in Grand Cayman
The Art & Science of SCUBA Diving Winter Term class is enjoying a week in the Caribbean to complete their training and become open-water certified.