With some of Wellesley’s student body back on campus this fall, many groups and organizations are trying to remodel their usual avenues of functioning within the safety confines of COVID-19. It iss exciting to see all the creative ways students are coming up with to safely congregate, and after being in quarantine for so long, it is refreshing to get a taste of any sort of human interaction.
Among these groups are the varsity sports teams. The Wellesley athletics department has derived a plan for student-athletes to continue play, in some capacity, safely and with the community’s well-being in mind.
Wellesley’s Lacrosse team took to the field for the first time since March on Wednesday this week. With only eight students living on campus this fall, and one dedicating her season to the Field Hockey team, the field felt a little roomier than usual. However, this provided the team with plenty of room to have a virus transmission free practice. It was clear that some rust needed to be shaken off after a long break from their sport, but by the end of the hour-long session, the skills the group implemented last semester were reemerging.
The best part was being reminded of how good it feels to be working hard and having fun with each other, sticks in hand. The team attended an outdoor lifting session with Coach Tim Snyder prior to hitting the field, and though this lift looked much different from what the returning sophomores were used to, the squats still burned just as hard and the hip flexor stretch still felt just as good. It was very apparent that the coaching staff had put in a lot of effort to address every opportunity to prevent viral transmission, and provide the safest environment for athletes to continue with play.
The presence of the upperclassmen is certainly going to be missed this fall. While they might not be on the Blue’s field, they are keeping the team’s future seasons in mind by continuing to exercise and practice stick skills from a distance.
“In the beginning of the semester, I was living with three other Lacrosse players and one Golf player where we held each other accountable to keep up running and working out,” said Lorna Li ’22, who is studying remotely this semester. “I’m fortunate enough at home to have a decent amount of gym equipment, which has allowed me to keep up with the TeamBuilder exercises Coach Tim has sent us. I’m really sad to be apart from the team and missing out on meeting the First-years, but I am so grateful to have a community I feel so comfortable in.”
The team is unsure of what the 2021 season will look like in the spring, but as of now, only the juniors and seniors will have the option to be on campus during that time.
Many athletes have taken time during quarantine to reflect on racism in their sports of choice. The Lacrosse team has discussed ways in which they can reflect on the Native American origin of lacrosse, and how they should practice mindfulness and respect towards the historical value the sport holds — a value that is often overlooked by many lacrosse participants at all levels. The Lacrosse team, as well as many other Wellesley College sports teams, are also strategizing ways to not just be performative during the Black Lives Matter movement, but to truly make an institutional difference among the student-athlete sphere and the Wellesley College community as a whole. Student athletes are returning with lots of energy to take to the field, but also to address the issues facing our country and greater community today.