Unlike baseball and softball teams down south, Butler’s squads do not have the luxury of being outside year-round.
Instead, they are confined to the Butler Bubble for the majority of the offseason and the beginning of their regular seasons.
“I like to compare it to coach Stevens having to practice on a golf course and then going to play his first basketball game,” softball coach Scott Hall said. “There is only so much we can do.”
To compensate for the weather constrictions, the teams head south every year.
Traveling allows the teams to face a variety of opponents, though the venture is not without its drawbacks.
With each trip comes expenses for the teams: hotels, food and the occasional load of laundry.
Another inevitable problem with offseason travel is the strain it puts on the athletes to keep up with their schoolwork.
Senior outfielder Jack Dillon, who started 29 games last season, said he has to make personal adjustments to accommodate for the travel season.
“It’s hard to maintain what I do in the offseason in terms of grades,” Dillon said. “I’ve learned to manage my time wisely and be more productive when I do have the time to sit down and work on academics.”
This effort does not go unnoticed by coaches.
Baseball coach Steve Farley said he admires his team’s determination in the offseason.
“I think our guys work even harder on their academics during the spring semester because they know they will be missing some classes due to travel,” Farley said.
Despite the drawbacks of traveling down south, the advantages for both teams make them worthwhile in preparing for their upcoming seasons.
In addition to playing outside, another positive about traveling south is facing some of the better teams in the country.
“While I’ve coached at Butler, we’ve played Top 10 teams like South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Florida State, Alabama, North Carolina, Fresno State,” Farley said, “and now this year, the defending national champs, University of Arizona.”
This gives each athlete on the Butler teams a great experience the programs hope will translate into success during conference play.
“I can’t see anything bad with touring the southern portion of our country,” Dillon said.
The players certainly enjoy the experience of playing great teams, and the coaches said they don’t mind escaping into nice, warm weather down south.
The softball team started its season playing Eastern Michigan at Georgia Tech last Friday while the baseball team will start its season Friday at Georgia State.