Covid-19 measures impact ASD athletes

An+empty+ASD+gym+is+slowly+covering+with+dust+as+kids+from+ASD+are+forced+to+stay+home%2C+not++able+to+use+school+facilities.

Photographer: Amanda Reilly

An empty ASD gym is slowly covering with dust as kids from ASD are forced to stay home, not able to use school facilities.

Will R., Reporter

In an abrupt announcement over the loudspeaker, students were suddenly told on Mar. 9, to pack up our things, take what we needed from our lockers, and head home.

Within two days, the first of weeks of online classes began with teachers communicating via Zoom and Teneen Virtual School. But where did  that leave our ASD athletes? After having their games and practices canceled, most were left wondering if this would be the end of the season. 

Athletic Director Dave Farmer spoke about the then-current status of activities in our school: “As social distancing rules have become more enforced, students and athletes are training and learning how to stay in shape at home. In the hopes of being ready for the next school year, students and coaches continue to communicate with each other whenever possible.”

Asked about senior awards he explained, “We have already selected the athletes of the year, and the coaches have met up and found different ways to commemorate their achievements. We have also given out special recognition, such as the sports scholars of the year, the athletic cord receivers, and many other forms of recognition.”

At the same time, other groups, such as the Booster Club, still seek to support athletes and prepare for upcoming events. Mrs. Nikki Routledge, a member of the PTA, shared that “for the first two seasons we were able to support students by being involved at many events, as I said, helping with travel costs, as well as issuing varsity bags to new varsity team members.  We help run the athletic awards nights and continue to supply ASD apparel through the Booster store and pop up. Due to Covid-19 and the school closure, social distancing, and the ban on group events we are no longer able to support our students through… the end of the school year, and this is very sad for us as well as the coaches and the athletes.”

In times such as these, it is important to hear from the players that are being affected. In an interview with A. Routledge (’20), a varsity player and the president of the VCC, she says that “we are continuing to work to make sure events such as the VCC elections continue to take place. We will be meeting with the newly elected VCC to debrief them on jobs, events, tips for how to make the following year even better than this year.” When asked about how her training has been affected, she states that “My training has been heavily impacted by the virus. As a track and field heptathlon, I do many events that require equipment or facilities such as a javelin, jumping pits, or hurdles. Due to my inability to access these pieces of equipment and the track, I have been unable to do the majority of my events or train technique-wise.” She added, “I would normally train around 9 times a week but haven’t been able to because I would normally designate a portion of those practices to certain events that I can’t practice for right now. Instead, I’m just trying to stay in shape so that I can hit the ground running and get back to technique practice once isolation is over.”

Finally, when asked to give a message to rising athletes and players in the era of coronavirus, A. Routledge (’20) says that “I know for many athletes sports are their passion and/or it is a way to destress which is essential during these uncertain times, it is for me too. Even though it’s difficult right now, remember there are always exercises you can do at home without equipment. Stay motivated by setting goals and challenges with your teammates, switch up your workout periodically to stay engaged, and make your workout as fun as possible. This is a time that will test all athletes mentally, don’t get dragged down by it. Remember, every time you train, you are that much closer to meeting your goals and beating your opponents. Seniors, I know having your final season pulled out from under you sucks and it feels unfair and anticlimactic.”

Even as the era of coronavirus lingers on, the athletics office continues to focus on getting more athletes to continue to work on themselves to prepare for the upcoming season. In addition, the booster club, even with a lack of activities to raise money from, still strives to support the school’s players and focus on the next year. The VCC and other seniors are still trying to support players and make sure that they get the exercise that they need.

A. Routledge has one last thing to say: “As hard as it is, try to focus on everything you’ve accomplished over the past few years, all the memories you’ve made rather than thinking about what could’ve been or what you’re missing out on.  Remember we’re all in it together and this is just a bump in the road that will make us better athletes.”

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