Homecoming Doesn’t Mean Days Off for Morgan State Football Team

By Arianna Hayden

Clarence Swain, a senior offensive lineman for the Morgan State football Bears attends classes every morning, then reports to Hill Field House for strength and conditioning workouts that are followed by a two- to three-hour practice. He is finished around 6.

This routine doesn’t change during one of the liveliest times on campus: Homecoming Week.

“I could attend some of the events during homecoming; I would just be extremely tired. So it kind of takes away from the whole homecoming experience,” Swain said, adding, “We definitely don’t get to enjoy the week as much as others.”

Each year around this time it’s the same story, less partying and more preparation for the upcoming game on Saturday. While some daytime events may be options, evening events and partying are not.

It’s challenging for all athletes, not just Swain and his teammates, to enjoy the homecoming week like other students. Athletes on full scholarships have not only academics to focus on, but also athletic performance.

Most athletes at Morgan have begun some type of season, or pre-season practices that force them to miss some of the homecoming events. In-season athletes in sports such as football, volleyball and cross country are practicing and playing in hopes of coming out on top of the MEAC. Out of season athletes in softball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, cheerleading and track-and-field have begun preparing for their upcoming seasons.

“Being in season definitely changes things because you want to go out and have fun, but you also have to remember you have to get up for practice at the crack of dawn,“ said Dinah Jones, a junior on the volleyball team.

Justin Hunt, a businessman who played football at Morgan from 2001 to2004, remembers those days. “They were fun, but we usually didn’t party much because we knew we had to practice and play that weekend. It was understood we were there to handle business. We could party later, and that’s just what we did.”

For the football team, the week is strictly business.

“Before the game you’re just amped up. Really all week you can’t wait for Saturday to show off.” Swain said.

He is most upset about missing the homecoming concert, which will take place Friday evening, the night before the big game against North Carolina Central.

“Jeezy is one of my favorite artists!”

For some athletes, the inability to party doesn’t put a damper on homecoming.

“I am looking forward to homecoming because it is one of the few times I get to watch our football team play, connect with alumni, and eat food from many vendors,” said Zuri Smith, a senior volleyball player.

Many student-athlete alumni like Hunt attend homecoming festivities, which allows them to keep in touch but also to connect with the younger Morgan State athletes. Some athletes still try to find ways to make the week enjoyable even without the homecoming events.

“It’s not always about partying and going out,” Jones, the volleyball player, said.“We knew what we signed up for when we signed our contracts. A free education sometimes requires missing big events on campus. It sucks, but that’s the price we pay.”

 

 

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