Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer Time Bleues

It is typical in all team sports for there to be an "off season". The "off season" is a time of year for recovery, rejuvenation, and free time to spend with family and friends. Professional athletes also use their "off season" to pursue alternative interest and passions. Some professional athletes use the "off season" to get out of the media while others use the time period to get into the media.

For nonprofessional NCAA athletes the "off season" comes during the summer. Summer term can start and end a differently depending on what school an individual attends. Some NCAA athletes attend summer classes to allow for an easier course load during the terms when they have to attend classes as well as compete in their sport, but the array of NCAA athletes (all college students for that matter) that stick around their school for the summer is minimal. The majority go back to their respective places of origin. They either live with a parent or relative and enjoy a relaxing break from classes.

The portion of the student body that are typically seen around campus or the college town during the summer are either non-traditional students or one of the handful of students that work during the school year that does not want to loose his/her job over the summer and have to come back to find a new one. Life during the summer (aka "off season") is not with out it's trials and tribulations. Team kettle is not exempt from the summer time (aka "off season") trials.

Two days ago Dan "Buffalo Bleu" Thurber moved back to Idaho for the rest of the summer. This move by Dan makes this summer like all summers previous, but one aspect of the move does make this summer different then previous. This summer marks the summer when Dan will not be moving back to Ashland Oregon in fall to attend school at Southern Oregon University with his team kettle teammates. This is the summer when Dan relocates to Corvallis Oregon to continue is university studies at Oregon State University.

Instead of Dan being a short drive or a little bit longer scooter ride away, he will be approximately 222.75 miles away roughly a 3 hour and 39 minute drive. This distant is to great for even the best scooterer to make in an afternoon. What does this mean for team kettle? I can tell you. It does not mean that the team is disbanding, nor that the consumption of kettle products will decrease, or that adventures wont abound; however, it does mean that the all-trac and the cliche will be attaining more miles on them the we would like to admit, our phone bills will increase (mainly text messaging will increase), and one other thing that will be a result is that the absence of our teammate will be a difficult adjustment for us to make this summer.

The first noticeable impact of the separation was last night. There was no one for us to call and harass into coming over and hanging out (aka drink beer and eat kettle chips). The summer time bleus will only last for a short while. In a few weeks students will be making their pilgrimage back down to Ashland for another school year, but until they do there will remain a loneliness within the Southern Oregon unit of team kettle.

The "off season" is a time of year that does not exist in the "real world" of business professions (unless you are a teacher). In the "real world" people work at their job year round accruing vacation days and sick days. The "real world" is supposed to start after graduation from college. Therefore, for the vast majority of NCAA athletes (all college students for that matter) are not use to the year round aspect of the "real world." The realization of friends, family members, and teammates moving away to pursue their own passions is first and truly realized during the summers (aka "off seasons). I think the anxiety of separations from friends is one of the biggest and most felt by college student who are about to or have graduated. It is typically the first time in their life where they have to grow up and move on and that can mean never seeing someone ever again. There is no college class that can prepare a person for the emotional impact of that realization.

Only the greatest of bonds can hold under the force of such a separation. It is a good thing that team kettle has kettle chips to hold them together tightly through their separation and to bring them back together frequently for adventurer's and beer and kettle chips.

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