Fall Sports Practice Begin Under Challenging Circumstances

As it’s been with so many other things during the pandemic, coaches and student-athletes have had to adjust to some new normals on the field, court, or pool to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines. Although there is nothing that feels normal about wearing masks during practice or maintaining social distance in a contact sport, coaches and student-athletes alike have found a sense of normalcy in the routine that the practices have provided.

“I’ve been tremendously impressed with the discipline and determination of our guys in regards to adhering to COVID parameters,” said Dr. Fred Bouchard, the new Head Football Coach. “They all want to play and they’re willing to go to great lengths to get that opportunity down the road.”

Although there are still questions as to what competing with other schools will look like, many student-athletes are optimistic about competing in the future and are simply excited to have the fellowship and exercise that sports provide.

“Being able to use the campus every day and take a break from sitting in front of a computer has been invaluable during the start of online school,” said Ashley Kane ’21, who is on the tennis team. “Because the teams have been taking the situation so seriously, I have high hopes for some matches against other schools later this season. But until then, we’re all so grateful to be able to exercise and socialize outside every day.”

“I think for a lot of us, the football field is a place of comfort, and being able to go to practice every day with the team is a blessing no matter what restrictions we must follow to keep everyone safe,” added Grant Purdy ’21.

Others have found that the restrictions have brought an even stronger sense of team than before the pandemic.

“It’s not ideal by any means to have social distancing during practice and to have a mask on under the helmet,” said Trevon Bobo ’21 of the varsity football team. “But in a way, it has helped bring a lot of guys closer together as we are all going through the same challenges right now.”

Overall, the coaches and athletes are simply grateful to be part of something positive and social after months of staying home.

“I am glad after we had been separated and cooped up for so long that we have these two hours together to play field hockey, have some fun, and get some fitness in,” said Field Hockey Coach, Lynn Mittler. “Our focus is health and wellness right now and I think that has helped us really realize the value of what we do. There is no doubt it is the best part of my day.”