Student athletes keep relationship alive despite distance

As roses and candy hearts are passed around, and romance floats throughout NKU’s campus, two NKU student athletes battle stressful schedules, long distances and the day-to-day struggles of most college students to maintain their unique relationship.

In October of 2012, basketball was one of the things that brought together junior biology major Kaitlyn Gerrety, a center on the women’s team, and sophomore athletic training major Jack Flournoy, a forward on the men’s team. Through common interests, and mutual friends, the two were able to start a relationship that is still going today.

In addition to going to class, both athletes have basketball; whether it is practice or games, nearly every day of the week. Flournoy believes that sharing busy schedules makes it easier to relate to each other.

“Since we both play, we understand how much time we have to set aside for homework, and how much time we spend at the arena, without getting frustrated with each other,” Flournoy said.

In addition to their busy schedules while they are on NKU’s campus, they also have to deal with the team’s many road trips. Sometimes going as far as California or Mexico.

“It’s hard,” Gerrety said. “Right now we only see each other three days a week. When he’s gone, I’m home, and when I’m home, he’s gone. It’s definitely difficult to find time to hang out.”

Both Flournoy and Gerrety agree that finding time to talk with each other during the road trips is hard with the time differences, but technology and patience are both key tools they need with long periods of time away from eachother.

Gerrety’s teammate, sophomore guard Rianna Gayheart, stresses the importance of finding someone who is willing to share time together with the basketball team, and believes that Flournoy and Gerrety have found just that.

“I think they work so well because they compliment each other,” Gayheart said. “They are very similar and they both love to have fun. They also have a very good understanding of each other’s schedules.”

Through all the hurdles and the hardships they have had to deal with, they are both happy in their relationships and attribute their success to being patient and communicating with one another.

“We never get frustrated with each other about our priorities,” Flournoy said. “We understand that we will have time in the evening or time over the weekend.”

Gerrety believes that in any relationship, you need to shrug off the small stuff and focus on the bigger picture. Patience and support are two key aspects of a successful relationship.

“Just be patient and be supportive,” Gerrety said. “It’s hard to see the bigger picture sometimes when you don’t get to be with them all the time, but just be supportive.”

Although the men’s team will be in Georgia during Valentine’s Day for their games against Kennesaw State Feb. 13 and against Mercer Feb. 15, the couple is planning on skyping as much as possible and hoping to celebrate by spending the Sunday night after Flournoy gets back by going out to dinner.

To keep up with Flournoy and Gerrety and the rest of the NKU Norse basketball teams, check for updates and watch the women’s team take on Jacksonville in The Bank of Kentucky Center on Feb. 15.