CBD Journal with Drake Browne (April 6th)

After losing my battle with the wonky elbow and having to undergo surgery, I faced the harsh reality of not being able to play my junior season. I’m not going to lie, it’s been really tough, but I am thankful for the loving support of my family, friends, coaches and physical therapists. While it is nothing compared to being able to play, my teammates showed me that one positive to the situation was that I would actually have a Spring Break.

Spring Break? What is that?

With baseball, I have not been on vacation for this so called “Spring Break” in a very long time. In high school, it was a chance for us northern boys to go practice in warmer weather. Even when I was little, our trips to Long Boat Key, FL were always filled with days of practice at a local diamond.

Look at that Sweet Swing

So, I teamed up with one of my good friends Greg Harrison to plan the time of our lives. Greg transferred to Furman this year from USC (yes, he does have a national championship ring), so he has to sit out due to transfer rules. Dreams of SB’12 danced in our heads as we were destined for Atlantis, Panama City, Cancun or at least Daytona Beach.

After finishing my midterm exams, it was finally time for Spring Break. Looking back on that week, I don’t think I ventured outside of a three mile radius from my on-campus apartment… Greg and I were unable to think of anything that could possibly be better than spending Spring Break with the team in good ole Greenville, SC.

I might have a bit of a sarcastic undertone behind that last sentence, but there really are a number of reasons why Spring Break is such a great time for college baseball teams.

1. We are the only ones on Campus

While most Furman students would say the baseball team rules campus 24/7, it is definitely the case during Spring Break. We are the only ones here. All students, faculty, and campus police officers are gone, leaving Furman’s beautiful campus as our playground.

My moral obligations force me to live within the limits of the established rules, but there is still a certain freedom that comes with having campus all to ourselves. If we want to use the academic buildings and historical landmarks as our putting greens for fungo golf, no one is stopping us.

While the 18th hole might seem like a long drive competition, over the Library and into the Lake, don’t be fooled. It is a key part of your round and will be scored very strictly.

2. Stax Original

I have been doing the PA at our home games this year, so I can tell you that:

“Whether it is Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, you can’t go wrong with Greenville’s home of the famous Deuces Wild Breakfast. Stax Original is always a Paladin favorite, located at the corner of Pleasantburg and Poinsett.”

Ain’t that the truth! Stax is a great place, and since there is no campus dining available, we get the treat of eating most of our meals at this fine establishment. Personally, I am a big fan of the chicken tenders and broccoli casserole, but there are so many delicious options that the Paladins always leave full and happy.

3. Team Time

Since we are the only ones on campus, we are forced to hang out with each other. This isn’t a problem because we all are great friends and love being together off the field. However, the dynamic is a little different because we are the ONLY ones here. We become our own version of the Little Rascals’ “He Man Womun Haters Club.”

All of the lovely Paladin girlfriends have gone away to enjoy their vacations, forcing their boyfriends to actually spend time with their teammates off the field. If my calculations are correct, 19 of the 35 team members are currently “In a Relationship.” That accounts for a lot of lost puppies.

I will be the first to say that I have a wonder girlfriend and I enjoy spending time with her (isn’t that the point?), so I will include myself into the group of people who might have gained a little more face time because of Spring Break.

4. MLB The Show

Every year around the time of Spring Break, the new MLB The Show is released. It is a glorious day, because as you probably know, “The Show” is the greatest video game of all time. This year brought a little extra excitement, because the new “PS Vita” also came out, a handheld device that allows you to play wherever you may please.

I stayed up way past my bedtime to go to GameStop for the midnight release on March 6th. As soon as I got back to my apartment, I played a quick exhibition game; Reds vs. Cardinals. Being a Cincinnati kid, I have been pleased with the off season acquisitions of my beloved Reds. I started Mat Latos on the mound and Ryan Ludwick in left field, just to see how good they looked in the home whites. I also wanted to get a glimpse of the Cardinal lineup that was without Albert Pujols.

5. Naps on Naps on Naps

Just having finished the grueling “Mid Term Week,” we are all exhausted and worn out from all the long nights in the James B. Duke Library. Luckily for us baseball players, we have time to catch up on our sleep. After practice and a nice hearty meal from Stax, afternoon naps are a common occurrence for us crazy spring breakers.

(from top to bottom) Tyler Wood, Greg Harrison and Nate Smith all enjoy a nice afternoon slumber

6. No Off Days!

Because of NCAA rules, when we do not have class we also do not have our mandatory one day off per week. This is actually great news, because we get to spend extra time on the baseball field! That is what Spring Break is all about!

I hope you all enjoyed learning about Spring Break for the college baseball player. Along with everything I have just talked about, we also enjoyed a nice five game winning streak over this time span which was just icing on the cake.

#32 in the Media Guide, #1 in your hearts,

Drake Browne