No rest for sports world as school takes break

Sports on and off campus over break.

Daniel Newman and Brandon Bee

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Nearly every student at Seattle Pacific University is counting down the days until dead week and finals are over — when they can enjoy the christmas season without having to worry about homework, projects and finals. But as school takes a break, the world of sports continues to move on at a rapid pace. Not only are the NBA and NFL in action over the break, the Falcons men’s and women’s basketball teams have a total of seven games that will be played at Royal Brougham Pavilion over the break.

Playing games and practicing over break isn’t that big of a deal for junior women’s basketball player Hailee Bennett. 

“ … that’s how it has always been for me,” Bennett said.

As the women’s basketball team takes on California State University Los Angeles on Dec 16, and Academy of Art University on Dec 19, Head Coach Mike Simonson has his team practicing every day until then. 

After this, they are unable to practice for seven days during the break, due to NCAA Division II’s winter break rule . During this seven day period, “a student-athlete may not be employed at institutional camps and clinics, may not participate in any countable athletically related activities and may not participate in any voluntary athletically related activities on campus unless the facility is open to the general student-body” according to the NCAA Division II rulebook. 

While Simonson wishes he had more time to practice with the team during the break, he is grateful for time to spend with family and friends. 

Before coming to SPU, Simonson was an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team at Washington State University. WSU is a Division I school, which does not have any winter break regulations. During that span, Simonson went four straight years without spending a Christmas with family members. 

Because of the winter break regulation, Bennett says that her break from basketball in college is longer than it was in highschool. 

Freshman men’s basketball player Shaw Anderson said, “Playing and practicing over the break isn’t as bad as it seems.” He enjoys the break from school even if it means spending less time with his family. 

Bennett also looks forward to the team Christmas party that takes place every year, specifically the gingerbread house decorating contest. 

“We each create and decorate our own and then our coach’s kids decide who the winner is,” Bennett said.

After Christmas is over, both the men’s and women’s teams can get back to practicing. Both teams will take on Alaska Anchorage University on Jan 2, and Alaska Fairbanks University Jan 4 at home. 

Simonson said that games after the week off are always difficult, but both teams will make their best attempts to come away with wins. 

Another exciting sporting event that will take place over the holiday break is the college football bowl season. Based on how well they played over the season, teams with at least six wins will play for bragging rights in a bowl game against another team with similar skill level from a different conference. The four best teams over the course of the regular season are chosen to play in the college football playoffs. Whoever wins the four-team tournament will be named national champions.

The last four weeks of the NFL season are also during the break. As the season winds down, there will be some key games as teams fight for a playoff position. The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, who are both on top of the AFC standings, will meet Dec. 21. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles will fight against each other Dec. 22 for the top of the division in the NFC East to make the playoffs.

The matchup that sophomore Cade Huston is excited for will happen Dec. 29, when the Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers.

“The Seahawks vs 49ers game is the last of the season because it could decide the division and home field and bye,” Huston said.

The two teams are currently tied for first place in the NFC West division, but the Seahawks hold the advantage, having beat the 49ers earlier in the season. 

NBA on Christmas Day is a big event for basketball fans, and five games will take place on the day.  

Two of the key matchups include the Golden State Warriors taking on the Houston Rockets, and the Los Angeles Clippers playing the Los Angeles Lakers.  

The Warriors have had many injuries this season, as top players Stephen Curry, and D’Angelo Russell both are dealing with hand issues. For the Rockets, James Harden is on pace for a historic scoring average this season.

The Lakers and Clippers matchup will be a battle of two of the top teams in the West. Both teams also have two superstars, with Lebron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers side, and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the Clippers side.

While the holidays are a time to enjoy family and friends, there are plenty of big games for sports fans to enjoy as well.