It's that time of year again

Courtesy Erin Dees

Picking the perfect pumpkin is one objective, making memories with teammates is another.

Hello, soccer people!

West Coast Conference play has begun and we are 3-0 (11-1-1 overall) with wins over Pacific, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. We will be taking on Gonzaga on Saturday as we return home after five of the last six games on the road.

I have always told people the University of Portland is very different from a lot of other schools. This week in particular is no exception. Student-athletes at schools around the country will be hard at work studying and going to classes, but we will not. This week is fall break, and a week off from school could not have come at a more perfect time.

While other students head home or go on vacation, we’re staying here. We still practice and do everything it takes to be prepared for games, but we’re having fun and doing things we normally wouldn’t have time for. These activities include, but are not limited to, shopping, eating out, bouldering, going to movies and taking a trip to the local pumpkin patch.

Every year my team makes a trip to the pumpkin patch, and it is one of my favorite team activities. We pile into cars and take the 15-minute drive to one of Portland’s more popular patches.

After a very bumpy hayride each of my teammates sets out in the sea of pumpkins to find the perfect one. To some, this pumpkin is large. To others, it is very small, or even deformed. No matter what it looks like, it is always perfect to the owner.

My freshman year, I set out on this adventure and came back with the biggest pumpkin I could carry. My sophomore year, I found the ugliest pumpkin in the patch. My junior year, I set out in search of the classic and most ideal pumpkin and found it. This year, I was in search of a small pumpkin that I could still carve, and I was successful.

Of course, the next step after picking out the pumpkin is to carve or paint it. Our team was split with about one-third painting their pumpkin and two-thirds carving it. I typically like to carve my pumpkin because my painting skills are about as good as I am at playing forward.

Last year I went for the “pumpkin inception” by carving a pumpkin into my pumpkin. This year, I decided to carve a classic face into my tiny pumpkin. And it doesn’t look half bad, if I do say so myself.

The trip to the pumpkin patch is my favorite way to spend fall break and make memories with my teammates.