We would practice either the the 25th or 26th because we almost always had a game on the 27th or 28th. It was good to visit your family, but coach Hall quickly ran the turkey out of us when we came back and enjoyed doing it.
He gave us an opportunity to get home and spend time with family because he knew it was tough to get home often. We did things together leading up to Christmas. He always made us go caroling to different children's hospitals and places like that, which was good for us. We really were not great singers and I was not very good at all. But if you get enough bad singers together, you really can't tell who is singing that bad.
I remember going to coach Hall's house one time. Bret Bearup, who was pretty much the prankster on our team, said we should go over and the song he suggested was "Deck the Halls." He thought that was funny. And we sang that for him. We all kind of liked that and I never will forget it. When the other students were off campus, we got to go other places to eat at different restaurants and that was always cool. Guys enjoyed just hanging out together because everyone else was gone.
Coach Hall would get creative after Christmas because that was the time of that dreaded January slump. Most time that was from Christmas break until the students came back and part of the theory was that we were just laying around the Lodge and not doing anything. We usually practiced twice a day and a lot of guys like myself just wanted to practice one time. But that was coach Hall's way of getting us active and keeping us busy.