COVID’s effect on student athletes

Payton Cook, Contributing writer

On March 12, 2020, I woke up ready to conquer another typical day.

I would go through my routine of waking up, going to classes, and then straight to lacrosse practice. I woke up oblivious to how my day would end. Practice started with a normal warm-up.

But when we noticed our coach was missing and our assistant coach told us to create kickball teams, we knew something was wrong. We had heard of the coronavirus, but we didn’t know that it would soon become our new reality. Eventually our head coach came back.

The rest of our season had been canceled. Effective immediately. I remember the silence and I remember the sadness. I remember feeling the worst for our seniors.

Everything we had worked for since August, countless hours of practice and lift, was suddenly, what felt like, all for nothing. We had already played four games and just like that we wouldn’t play the rest of our schedule.

Then we learned that we would be sent home from school, which felt even worse. I was in a state of disbelief. The women’s lacrosse team is a family and being separated from each other after the cancellation of our season made this experience even harder.

COVID-19 has affected me as an athlete in more ways than one. First of all, it was devastating to hear our season was canceled since it is what you work so hard for all year.

Then, over quarantine, it was honestly a struggle to stay motivated and stay in shape without your teammates to help you. Gyms and school facilities being closed made it a lot harder to get access to weight rooms and have space to work out.

Also, with the increased severity of the coronavirus came the increased chance of us not having school and not being able to practice in the fall.

There were a lot of unknowns at the time, and there still are. Thankfully, we are able to practice this fall, but under very different circumstances. Unfortunately, our team can’t practice all together in order to keep socially distant.

All athletes are required to fill out daily COVID screenings and wear wristbands to prove they are able to practice that day.

Also, arguably the hardest part of all of this is wearing a mask while practicing. Personally, this has been an eye-opening experience. I learned to never take anything for granted. I learned that you never know when the last time you’ll get to play is or when the last time you’ll get to see your teammates is.

I learned that nothing in life is guaranteed. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Most importantly, I learned that all of our hard work wasn’t for nothing.

We are still working hard to play, to win and to get a championship ring this spring. We are working hard for each other and we are working hard because we have the opportunity to. I am taking full advantage of every chance I get on the field.