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All is Fair in Love and Sports

The closer it gets to Valentine’s Day, the closer we get to the end of “cuffing season,” that period of time when single people look for short-term relationships. Technically it ends after February 14, so those looking for a significant other around campus to pass by the colder months are running out of time. Anyone walking around campus can catch a glimpse of the happy couples eating lunch at the University Center, holding hands on the way to class or working out in the Center for Recreation and Sports (CRS). What about some of the busiest students on campus? Our athlete lovebirds have to navigate their busy schedules and budding romance all at once.

A common theme for athletes and their partners in relationships is limited time. But what helps them to navigate the challenges is focusing on communication as a priority.

Sophomore softball pitcher Lindsey Hibbs met her girlfriend, Amanda Montiel, through other athletes on the softball and basketball team.

“When we first started talking, Mandi went into quarantine and then right after she got out, I went into quarantine,” said Hibbs about the beginning of their relationship during the pandemic. “Our conversations over the phone definitely made my feelings grow stronger and made me realize I didn’t just think of her as a friend.”

Lindsey Hibbs (right) with her girlfriend Amanda Montiel.

Freshman nursing major Amanda Melillo doesn’t play a sport for Adelphi, but her boyfriend is on the men’s lacrosse team. While their busy schedules and lack of time could have created a divide in their relationship, Melillo said communication keeps them together.

While talking on the phone was nice when they could, “little [dinner] dates or just sitting in the library doing homework together is so much better than not being together or talking,” she added.

Juggling practice, lift sessions, class and schoolwork, athletes have little time for social hangouts and date night, especially in season. The only time to see a significant other may be short time periods in between classes or later at night when the day’s activities have ended.

“I stayed away from the dating world for a while just to focus on my schoolwork and softball. It’s a lot to manage,” Hibbs said, reflecting on dating life before meeting her girlfriend. “When Mandi and I started talking, I realized we could communicate and handle our schedules together.”

At the same time, having to handle so many responsibilities at once contributes to many athletes choosing to stay single during college or not enter a serious relationship. They may want to focus on their sport or school before taking on another person in their life as a commitment. Even meeting the right person may come at the wrong time.

“Although those little moments in time I get a break and get to see my girlfriend are nice, sometimes that 10 minutes just isn’t enough. I feel bad, but it’s just things I can’t control,” Hibbs said. The pair share their schedules and remain in constant communication with each other in order to ensure they’ll have some time together.

The struggles of juggling busy schedules with limited couple time might be tough, but the athletes in comfortable relationships can attest to their happiness with their situation. Having a partner who understands the lifestyle helps.

As a nursing student, Melillo is just as busy as her athlete boyfriend. “Being a nursing student and working a part-time job during school makes it difficult to keep up in a relationship,” she said. “Even when I see my boyfriend, he is usually sore from practice.”

But she added, talking to your partner about wants and needs in the relationship is really important for its success.

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