To play or not to play?

By Avery Wickersham (TheLorian)

COVID-19 has had a monumental impact on the way our daily lives operate, from grocery stores to restaurants. With the new school year starting, sports teams have had to figure out new ways to play. Loras College has a plethora of collegiate sports for both men and women, but what do their seasons look like now? Men’s Volleyball, Cross Country, and Tennis have all had their seasons impacted, but are still allowed to play, under many different circumstances.

Temperature checks, masks, and sanitation are pretty common for everyone in the United States, but sophomore Colin Hacker, a player on the men’s volleyball team states,

“We have to get our temperatures checked every day we have lifting, conditioning, or practice and fill out a wellness report before we go anywhere those days.”

This increase in safety has led to shorter practice times and increased cleaning of all equipment after lifting or practice, in addition to a mandatory mask rule at all times. The team has even taken it a step further and split the team into two, ensuring that everyone gets a chance to practice.

Senior Sam Brickley, whose on the tennis team, is incredibly grateful that his season will continue for his last year. However, there have been a lot of changes in the way they play as well. Instead of shaking hands to show solidarity and sportsmanship, the players tap rackets at the beginning of the game. While it may not be as personable, it definitely is a distanced sign of respect for the other team. The tennis team is also taking vans to games in order to social distances, but their travel is limited to a day—no overnights. It’s definitely a big shift, but the players are happy to still be able to play and participate.

Tennis and Men’s Volleyball play in the spring, so there’s still time for COVID-19 precautions to ease up before their seasons begin. However, sophomore Marianne Gleason, a runner on the cross country team, is able to participate in the fall sport. She acknowledges that it’s not the same as she’s used to, but the sport is worth the extra safety. While many other sports can wear masks, runners would struggle greatly. Instead, Marianne shared that the meets are distanced and the runners run their races and immediately put their masks back on. Like men’s volleyball, the meets are a lot smaller, with only two to three teams, and of course, there are temperature and wellness checks to make sure no one is infected.

With all of the safety precautions, sports may not be the same, but they’re still in motion. Loras College has worked tirelessly to provide the best seasons they can, and the players are hard at work, despite the looming threat of COVID-19. Good luck to all of the sports teams at Loras College this semester. Play on!

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