Ferris athletes get their fair share of traveling year-in and year-out, so it’s nice to be able to play on their home court or field. But what do they do when those games happen over Thanksgiving and winter breaks?
Several teams still play over break, with the men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as the football team seeing action over Thanksgiving break this year. With practices occurring throughout the week and a game Saturday, Nov. 24, the Ferris football team chose to stay local.
“We get a chance to spend more time with each other,” Ferris senior offensive lineman Devon Johnson said. “We had Thanksgiving with each other.”
Instead of heading home for one day to have dinner with their families, it makes sense for the Bulldogs to hang around Big Rapids. Having that special time with the team has helped come players become closer to the point where some prefer to be with their team on the holiday.
“My freshman year was kind of tough,” Johnson said. “But after a while I got used to just being around everyone. I would rather have Thanksgiving with my team.”
Going home for the holiday weekend is normally a thing students are looking forward to. Since some of the athletes are unable to due to practice and games, they have spent that time with their team, being able to get in some good team bonding. Some of the athletes’ parents may come up for the holidays and celebrate with the team as well.
For Johnson and the rest of the Bulldogs, it’s something to look forward to, as having been able to go this far in the season normally means playoffs. This year, Bulldog football was hosting Northwest Missouri State in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
“It’s honestly a great honor and an accomplishment that we look forward to accomplishing every November,” Johnson said. “To be in playoffs and be able to play and practice around Thanksgiving.”
Practices stay pretty much the same according to Johnson, as the team doesn’t want to overdo it and risk any unwanted injuries before any big games. Johnson sums up this time of the year for his teammates: “Who wouldn’t want to be playing football right now?”
The Bulldogs are heading to Mankato, Minnesota, to face Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, for the NCAA Division II Final Four.