Lehigh athletes spend hours practicing with each other each week, developing relationships as teammates and oftentimes as friends off the field of play.
Some athletes devote even more time to their teammates, living in dorms or off-campus houses together, which some student-athletes feel brings them closer and improves team chemistry.
The men’s lacrosse team already spends at least four hours a day together through practices or games, said junior midfielder Liam Lynch. He credits team chemistry and cohesiveness to living with four of his teammates.
“We get to connect on a level outside of the field, and that allows us to build chemistry (and) to make friendships that can last longer than our team will outside these four years,” Lynch said. “Sometimes it gets to be a lot when we’re together 24/7, but basically these kids are my best friends, so I’m always having fun.”
Many of the roommates also have similar majors and spend some of their free time off the field studying together.
Lynch’s roommate, junior midfielder Michael Donaghy, said living together creates a positive environment due to their similar interests and schedules.
“It would be a lot more complicated if our roommates weren’t on the same schedule as us because it’s pretty different,” Donaghy said. “I think that’s a big positive to (living together).”
Lynch said connecting with his teammates on a level outside of sports allows them to translate that over to what they do in games and practices.
“A lot of us that live together play similar positions, so you can see the close kids know exactly where each other are on the field, and we can kind of feel what we’re going to do and make the next play,” Lynch said. “It’s about having to really react and kind of know what someone is going to do, based on how much time we really spend together.”
Despite the positive impacts of living together, both roommates acknowledged there can be some housing disputes, but said they are quickly resolved due to common goals and aspirations.
Lynch said living together can sometimes feel like too much due to how much time the athletes spend with each other. But, in the end, their strong friendships are enough to keep them together. These friendships allow them to separate conflicts happening at home from their play on the field, Lynch said.
“We’re just competitors and really just want to win in everything,” Lynch said.
Lehigh men’s lacrosse is not the only team to benefit from living with teammates. Ryan Staropoli, a freshman on Lehigh’s baseball team, said living with his teammates has helped him adjust to coming to college.
He said the dynamic makes it easy to hold each other accountable, whether that be with practice, homework or time management.
“I think it’s definitely an adjustment period that comes with coming to college and comes with baseball, so I think having someone there who’s going through that process with you definitely helps guide you,” Staropoli said.
In regard to the men’s lacrosse team, Donaghy said having a sixth roommate, his dog Kygo, has further facilitated friendships between team members.
Donaghy said caring for his dog has facilitated growth of friendship between the players.
“It’s just another common interest for us to have, not just the guys in the house, but the rest of the team,” Donaghy said. “People will just come over to hang out with her. It’s another reason to be with each other.”
For the men’s lacrosse team, baseball team and for many other athletes around Lehigh, living together is commonplace and continues to be a driving force of friendships around the Lehigh athletic community.