The effects of COVID-19 have had an immeasurable influence on the world of sports, from amateur to professional leagues. With spring term at Deerfield occurring off-campus, COVID-19 has also impacted sports for the Big Green.
There is no excitement that can mimic Friday night lights or watching a championship game on TV. Across the world, COVID-19 has forced people to realize how prominent sports are in our culture. But one thing is certain: the sports industry will forever be changed.
Entertainment facilities everywhere are now considering new additions to adjust to new precautions post-coronavirus. This may range anywhere from a redesigning of restrooms and bleachers to concession stands and other public spaces. COVID-19 has reminded fans and athletes of the unique culture fostered by sports.
“Sport plays a central role in our society. Teams have a unique opportunity to use their networks of fans to lift up the community and one another during and after this crisis,” said John Rhodes, director of HOK Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment. “Our short time away from it has already reinforced that the live experience is a more genuine currency than the digital experience.” COVID-19 had caused popular arenas and recreation spaces to reconsider future construction and the addition of new safety measures.
Moreover, spring athletes all across the world are experiencing a mixture of despair and frustration. In our own community of Deerfield, the camaraderie between sports teams is unmatched. “The different cultures from all Deerfield teams, bands, and clubs is what provides a special kind of energy for the student body. Its absence during this term is unfortunate,” said Tripp Didden ’22. “It was really upsetting to find out the rest of the school year was canceled along with the spring athletic season…The lacrosse team created such a vibrant and positive culture that I loved being a part of.”
Many athletes feel vexation as they said goodbye to their spring seasons after an entire year of hard work. “Spring athletes work all year long for their season and it means so much to them, and it’s unfair and very unfortunate that this happened,” stated Liam Dawson ’20. “Sadly there’s nothing we can do, so we have to just be thankful for our health during these times.” The coronavirus has not allowed many spring athletes the ability to play their sport after extensive preparation and caused athletes to seek new ways to mimic the culture that was taken.
Although saddened by the lost spring season, other Deerfield athletes have been trying to maintain connections with their team during this time of isolation. Some coaches have sent out quarantine workout routines to help athletes maintain shape.
“I’ve gotten used to riding my bike a lot and even through COVID-19 the crew team has stayed connected through workouts and teams every Saturday,” said Wyatt Browne ’22. Although the coronavirus has abruptly affected the communities of team sports, it has allowed an opportunity for coaches to develop new forms of practice, communication, and has prompted spring athletes to find new ways of staying in shape.
Sport encapsulates much more than just entertainment and physical activity. It involves a unique culture and community that the coronavirus cannot take away. For many athletes around the world, going to practice and sweating through clothes was not always something that they looked forward to. Now, it’s the very thing athletes long for: backyard basketball with friends, throwing around a football, or even tossing a frisbee.
Yet, many are choosing to find the positive in an era of uncertainty. Athletes look to this time as an opening to get better in hopes of the next season. Although COVID-19 stripped millions around the world of an irreplaceable sports culture, it has been a meaningful reminder above all. We must cherish our past and future memories playing and watching the sports we love and be grateful we had the ability to do so.