Student Athletes: a look at their everyday life during the Pandemic
The Pandemic r
estrictions are taxing. UCC
has been following strict COVID-19 guidelines.
Kaevon Burney, a female UCC wrestler, is patiently waiting to hear back from the governor on when athletes can actually start practicing with contact and eventually play.
“As of right now, the hope is to have a match at the end of February, fingers crossed, or when COVID cases go down,” Burney said.
Burney said the season has been a very difficult experience because athletes are not allowed to have a regular practice, no contact is allowed, so practices mainly only focus on personal skills. Not only that, but the whole time they are on campus they have to wear a mask, even when working out and during practices.
“Mainly we’re doing conditioning and going to the mats, but we can’t touch each other,” Burney said.
The conflicting part of this experience for many of the players is that even though they all live together in the same house where they don’t wear masks, they are not allowed to have contact at school or work out without a mask on.
The same experience is happening for the men’s basketball team. They all live together, 13 of them, but their practices are also not normal. The group has to split up in the gym because a maximum number of 10 people only are allowed in the gym to work out even though all the men live in the same house.
Basketball guard Brig Schofield says that they are currently in the Northwest Athletic Conference “red phase” lockdown which means that only 10 people are allowed in the gym at all times with no contact during practice. Yellow phase will be the next step, and that allows the whole team to be together but still no contact during practice. Green phase will be a regular practice.
On most of the athletes’ days, they stay in, do classes on Zoom, finish homework and practice according to their sport schedule. Schofield says quarantining is worth following the restrictions because all they want to do is play for the school: “It is worth it to wait and keep everybody safe.”
Occasionally, after coming back together from a vacation or school break, they do a 14-day quarantine, and then they are able to go on a hike, go skating, bowling or can hang out together outside of the house with their team.
Although both teams are living separately,
they are experiencing some of the same things. Athletes Burley and basketball
forward Nate Webb are both attending UCC from out of
state, and they
feel like they are missing a real college experience. Webb says, “It takes a
toll mentally; you constantly have to remind yourself that you can make it day by
day, week by week, until you get more information, because everything is so
new.” They both said that it is hard because there is no in person contact with
anyone in real life, other than in Zoom and their teammates that they live
Schofield says, “It has been powerful to see how important relationships are and how blessed we are to have technology to help keep in touch with family and loved ones and how it allows to connect through technology.”
The players are all trying to be positive that a season will happen, even though there is no reassurance that it will. Even if there is no season, this whole experience with these players has all made them grow in a lot of different ways mentally and externally in relationships.
“This has really allowed me to grow as an individual and be more patient and open up more to make stronger connections with people around me since I am so far away from home,” Burley said.
For video comments from the athletes, please look at the above video.
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