As the Central Christian College student body enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, players and staff of the women’s basketball team found themselves on the court and far away from their family traditions.
As the Central Christian College student body enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, players and staff of the women’s basketball team found themselves on the court and far away from their family traditions. “Most of these girls would have gone home or traveled home with a friend for the weekend,” said Central women’s basketball head coach Robert Lancaster. Many of the girls, accustomed to spending the holiday with family, were a little disappointed that they were not able to travel home and were leery of a weekend without the normal routines and traditions. They were not alone, as several Central students were on their own this year and making due with a little different Thanksgiving plan. Lancaster knew he would be keeping the girls at school over the holiday break but decided to take advantage of an opportunity participate in an Oklahoma City basketball tournament. “We had the game on the schedule since the start of the year,” he said. “We started talking about this a few months ago so the girls knew they wouldn’t be able to make it home this year. I know it’s hard on a few of them, but we’re going to try to make the trip as enjoyable as possible.” Lancaster is filling the teams’ down time in the Sooner state with team meals, a cookout at a team member’s family’s house and trips to the movies. And while the players were on the road, international students and those that simply couldn’t make the trip home and back before the start of class Monday found turkey and friendly faces with college staff and supporters on and around campus. Central Chief Student Affairs Officer Chris Smith said the college does keep the dorms open during the Thanksgiving weekend since there are several students, both international and domestic, who cannot make it home. Unlike the fall break, the college does close its dining hall. “We do not close down the dorms over break because of the expense to students who would have to leave and then turn around in three weeks and do it all over again (we do close for Christmas break) and then make the trip back three weeks after that,” Smith said. If students express a need for a place to stay and dine over the holidays, Smith said the college will find accommodations. The college keeps track of who is staying on campus and does offer suggestions for activities over the holidays including volunteering to serve meals to those in need and enjoying a dinner prepared by one of the on-duty resident directors. This year, Lyndsi Romero, wife of Central men’s basketball head coach, took over the cooking duties. The Romeros also serve as resident directors. The Thursday meal, Romero said, was intended for the men’s basketball players that couldn’t make it home and anyone on campus without Thanksgiving plans. International students, who are partnered with a host family during their first year at Central, were given the opportunity to join their American parents and partake in a traditional meal. Gen Kobayashi of Japan was hoping to travel over the holiday weekend, but things didn’t work out and instead Kobayashi spent his days on campus catching up on homework and practicing with the men’s junior varsity basketball team. Like more foreign students, Kobayashi has no Thanksgiving traditions and isn’t all that partial to the turkey and stuffing. His concern this year was his birthday, which fell on Thanksgiving. “I wish I could go home,” he said. “But it’s too much travel and too much money.” He doesn’t mind missing the turkey but doesn’t enjoy the quite of campus when students go home for the holidays. “I miss the people.”