By: Kari Ashworth
For many student-athletes, balancing school, athletics, and work can prove to be difficult. However, it is the structure and support of the athletic programs that allow student-athletes to flourish in the transitional nature of college. Bailey Pratt, a senior on The College at Brockport Women’s Basketball Team, has experienced this firsthand.
Pratt hails from Ontario, New York, which is about 40 minutes from the college. Her love of basketball came from her father, Peter, who played at SUNY Oswego in college. At a young age, Pratt’s father “threw a ball in my hand” and she has been playing ever since. Her mother Tina, while not much of a sports fan, is still one Pratt’s “biggest supporters.” Whether Pratt wins or loses, Pratt’s mother is always there cheering her on.
Both of Pratt’s younger sisters, Emily and Riley, also play basketball, and since she is so close to home, she is able to watch them play during breaks and vice versa. While Pratt’s brother, Peter, does not play a sport, he is musical and she credits him as the one who balances out the family.
“It’s nice, a kind of breath of fresh air sometimes because everytime I go home it’s just basketball, basketball, basketball, and my brother’s like ‘hey, let’s go play guitar and sing some songs,” Pratt said.
Pratt serves as one of six team captains on the team and is a member of the “support squad.”
“If anyone needs anything, you’re there,” Pratt said. “If anyone is struggling with their grades, you help them find a tutor or help them do their homework or if anyone’s having relationship problems or problems with coach or anything, you’re kind of liaison between them.”
Coach Corinne Jones explained the support squad is there to provide help to anyone who needs it.
“[Bailey] makes sure to have a pulse on her teammate’s mental, emotional and physical well-being,” Jones said. “If her teammates need support, she can provide that to them.”
Pratt, according to Jones, was a good pick for team captain because of her carefree attitude.
“She has a lot of fun playing the game of basketball and that helps her teammates relax and not take anything too seriously,” Jones said. “ Bailey is also great at justifying things, i.e. it’s just a game. Her mentality helps her teammates play with a little more freedom.”
Allison Chiera, a sophomore on the team, has developed a close relationship with Pratt over the past year and a half. Chiera credits Pratt’s perspective on the game for the team’s success on and off the court.
“We all get along really well,” Chiera said. “ And I know Bailey does basketball because she has so much fun with it. And I don’t know I just kind of learn from her with that. Sometimes if I get too serious personally with basketball, like I start to get angry and upset, as soon as you look at it from Bailey’s perspective, it just makes it so much more fun.”
Chiera said other teammates also look at the game similar to Pratt, and by playing to have fun makes them a better team.
Pratt has proven to be an asset to the team, not only as a player, but as a teammate and friend. Her lifelong love of the game has allowed Pratt to transition into college with a new extended family with her biological one continuously cheering her on along the way.