It’s pretty safe to say I’m not a morning person. The snooze button and I have a love-hate relationship, and I’m guilty of accidentally (or “accidentally”) turning off my alarm and completely sleeping through my first class. You could call it ‘senioritis,’ but that would mean that last year I had ‘junioritis,’ and ‘sophomoritis’ the year before that. My point is I’ve never been good at getting up in the morning.
There is one day a week, however, where the moment my alarm goes off, I’m up for good. I immediately open my eyes, jump out of bed and I’m ready to go. And it just so happens that on this one day, my alarm goes off three (count it, three) hours earlier than any other day of the week.
Ironic, right? I’ll answer your question with another question: have YOU ever had 6 a.m. practice?
Welp, I have. Quite a few of them, actually. All SC athletes have. A rough estimate of how many for me would come out to one every Thursday for the entire fall season since my freshman year. I’m now a senior captain of my lacrosse team, and I’ve come to one main conclusion about these morning practices: they aren’t that bad.
Whenever I tell someone I have morning practice, responses are typically, “Wow, I’m sorry” or “That sucks.” I’ve even gotten “Ew” a couple of times. In all honesty, I can see why people hate the idea. But I’m so used to it by now that sometimes I actually like early morning practices the best.
Here’s a quick rundown of practice times for SC athletes. In-season teams get first dibs on practice times, the most common one being 4-6 p.m. Off-season athletes, therefore, have to choose between the leftovers: 6-8 p.m. (dinner time in Cheney), 8-10 p.m. (when it’s winter time and you’re fighting for the field house), or the beloved 6-8 a.m.
Now let me set the scene for you. I try to get to bed by midnight, because going to bed earlier when I’m not tired is a waste of time. I fall asleep to my TV to drown out the noise of my seven lovely roommates. I usually go through the night without waking up, but I’ve had a few instances where I’ll randomly wake up, freak out and think I’ve slept through practice, grab my phone to see the time and then realize it’s only 3 a.m. and I’ve still got a couple more hours of sleep to go.
My alarm goes off around 5:15 a.m., giving me time to open my eyes, mass text my teammates to make sure they’re awake, grab a quick breakfast, get dressed and brush my teeth. I walk out the door of my townhouse and walk with fellow captain Mackenzie Vita in pure darkness. Yes, the sun rises while we are at practice. Yes, we’ve tried to use the sun to figure out what time it is during practice. Fail.
By the end of warm-ups, we’re all awake and ready to go. So 6:15 a.m. doesn’t feel any different than 6:15 p.m. When practice is over by 8 a.m., I’ve already finished the workout most people don’t start until 4 p.m. Morning practice means when I’m done with class, I’m done for the day. It’s typically my most productive day of the week because I have more time later in the day to get things done.
Don’t get me wrong, being up at 5:15 a.m. presents good days and bad days. Most of the time after practice, I’m fully energized for the day. But on those extra tiring days, I usually crash and burn after my first class…but that’s nothing a coffee or second breakfast can’t fix! To me, it’s still worth getting practice over with in the morning if it means I have a little more time to myself later in the day.
I try not to complain about 6 a.m. practices because I’m a college athlete. I signed up for this. Whether it’s early morning practices, late night practices or days that have a practice and a lift, I knew what I was getting myself into. That’s why people say you’ve really got to love the sport you play, because you are required to put a lot of work into it every single day. And if you love it, it’s worth it.
Kelly Foley may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org