Its 5:30 a.m. and alarms across campus are buzzing to signal the start of the day. Yes, that’s A.M. as in very early in the morning, when it’s still dark out, unbelievable early and in the wee hours of the day when most of the campus is still and quiet.

Varsity athletes from several teams, wiping the sleep from their eyes, are getting dressed and trudging through the cold and snow to their early morning practices.

The Fairfield’s men’s lacrosse team has 6 a.m. practices every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In addition, they practice almost every day from noon to 3 p.m. “The early mornings are a pain,” said Garrett Baaman ’04. “I do more before three o’clock than most of my friends do all day”.

The practice times are scheduled according to each team’s training schedule, coach’s preferences, player schedules and availability of the facilities. Lifting sessions, field practices, track workouts and strength training represent just some of the activities that require the use of a field, equipment, gym space, the weight room or other Fairfield athletic areas.

Because the winter weather forces all teams to use indoor facilities like the Rec Plex, which is open to the public during the day, teams can either practice early in the morning or late at night.

Diana Fasano ’04, softball catcher, likes the idea of early practice. “It gets it out of the way. We take naps during the day, and we’re good to go,” said Fasano.

While it cannot be denied that the time of an athlete is much more strictly budgeted than that of a non-athlete, these early wake-up calls only seem to drive this point home even harder.

“I would wake up, go to practice, eat breakfast and then go to class,” said Erin Teeling ’05, a former member of the softball team. “My roommate would still be sleeping when I got back and it was ridiculous.”

While 5:30 a.m. may seem inconceivable to most Fairfield students, at least the schedule is limited to weekdays. The baseball team, however, has practice at 7:45 a.m. on the weekends. Those practices can seriously impede ones social life.

“I definitely don’t get to go out as much with my friends on the weekends,” said Jim Girolamo ’06.

“The late night practices [10-midnight] during the week make it hard to get up for classes too,” he said.

Most teams practice six days a week, the most allowed by NCAA regulations. These practice times, the variety of training and the time commitment required of a varsity athlete takes its toll

Kevin Nyarady ’05, a member of the men’s tennis team, poignantly summed up the dedication of college athletes. “It takes a lot of willpower to get up that early but it is your decision,” said Nyarady. “To play at the college varsity level takes sacrifice”.

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