In light of recent changes to COVID-19 procedures regarding Pacific athletics, student athletes are finding ways to adapt and stay motivated despite the uncertainties of their upcoming seasons in the spring.
Across the variety of sports teams on campus, there is one thing in common: no one knows what their season is going to look like or if there will be competition at all. With the postponement of fall sports, all sports teams have had to get comfortable sharing space with each other and taking care of the bare necessities to maintain a COVID-free environment.
Common regulations include teams being separated into groups of no more than 10 people. These groups can share balls within each other, but are not allowed to intermingle. There are also mandatory temperature checks before practices, as well as the inclusion of Sway, an app that allows student athletes to report their status with daily COVID symptoms.
For Elijah Meldrim, a freshman on the baseball team, these restrictions have disrupted the flow of a “normal” season as a spring sport. Without the preseason games and tournament in the fall, Meldrim is facing a struggle that a majority of athletes can relate to.
“I haven’t been able to play competitive baseball in over a year, and coming to a program that is built off of competitiveness is a big challenge,” Meldrim said.
Despite the restrictions on current practices, Meldrim has been continuing to work on his skills by talking with his coaches about position details and specific aspects to improve upon.
“My main motivation recently has been my love for playing the game and the family that I have joined,” Meldrim said. “I still have 4 years of eligibility and I’m going to make every day of those years count to make me a better ball player.”
According to junior Jenna Castro, the lacrosse team is facing similar difficulties like not being able to practice defense or play closely with other members of the team. Like most of the athletics department, Castro’s coaches have not been able to say what their spring season will look like, thus creating a sense of worry.
“I’m worried that we might not be where we need to in order to play the best that we can,” Castro said. “I’m also worried about the field time that we will have and the scheduling conflicts that could come up by sharing the spring season with other sports.”
Along with other athletes in both fall and spring sports, Castro is holding onto the hope of a normal season in the spring as motivation to continue working through all of the questions and doubts. — Chandler Fleming
Photo: Usually flooded with athletes and staff, the Stoller Center has seen few people this fall due to COVID-19 restrictions (Chandler Fleming)