With so much uncertainty due to COVID-19, winter sports this semester were questionable. Still, student-athletes came to campus and began practicing, hoping that a season would take place.
The long-awaited good news was delivered for both basketball teams and the men’s volleyball team when schedules were officially released.
I wanted to get the reactions and perspectives of some student athletes finally returning to their sports this winter. COVID-19 has greatly affected first-year students, who lost out on their senior seasons of high school and are experiencing their first year of college sports in a different way than expected.
I asked Evan Rothman, a freshman on the men’s volleyball team, how he felt about playing during this time. “Being able to play the sport I love again has improved my life greatly,” explained Evan. “It has improved my mental health, as I’ve been able to socialize with the people on my team. Physically, I feel a lot better and in shape than during 2020.”
Abbey Finkell from the women’s basketball team could barely contain her enthusiasm. “It truly is a blessing to be back out on the court with my team,” she said. “I am most looking forward to enjoying the moments when we all get together.” She is optimistic about the season, and the team is appreciating every moment they have to play.
The women’s and men’s basketball teams came out strong for the beginning of the season. As of March 3, the men’s team is 3-3 and looking for wins against its next opponent, Lycoming College. Having a bit more success, the women’s team has a winning record of 4-2. The men’s volleyball team had its first match on Feb. 24; they’re currently 2-2, with their next matches at Eastern University.
It is clear how much student-athletes missed the experience of college sports. Most have felt the disappointment in losing opportunities to compete, practice, or just spend time with teammates. The newfound appreciation that they have for their sports will undoubtedly continue to show in their dedication and performances on the court.
Not only are the athletes invigorated by the return of competition, but the entire Arcadia community is eagerly following each team’s season. Unfortunately, spectators are not allowed to attend the games or matches yet, but fans have been avidly streaming the games and cheering on the teams virtually. This has truly increased pride in our sports and shown the dedication of Arcadia students and fans in supporting student-athletes.
The way games and matches look today is certainly different; players are wearing masks and the stands are empty, but the chance for student-athletes to have a season and return to playing their sports overshadow any drawbacks of the situation. We’re all rooting for them and hope their hard work and patience will be rewarded with successful seasons.