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The Aquilian

Please let Gonzaga hold practice on campus

Gonzaga’s football team practiced on Buchanan Field last fall. (Photo by Mr. Conrad Singh)

Sports are an integral part of Gonzaga’s school culture. When I first toured Gonzaga in the fall of my eighth grade year, my tour guide gushed not only about the school’s exceptional coaches and highly decorated teams but also about the extracurriculars as a whole. From the field to the theater, you would be hard pressed to find a student that doesn’t participate in any extracurricular activities. In fact, according to Mr. Joe Reyda, Gonzaga’s athletic director, in a normal year roughly 75% of Gonzaga’s student body would be enrolled in at least one sport.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every team and club has been impacted, but sports teams have been hit particularly hard. While clubs such as Toastmasters and the Unity Club have simply moved their meetings to Zoom, teams like rugby and lacrosse haven’t been able to practice at all for much of the year.

Coach Trivers coached the football team last fall. (By Mr. Conrad Singh)

Since Dec. 7, 2020, the District of Columbia has had a ban on all high contact sports, including football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer and basketball, as well as a total suspension of all high school and youth sports.

As a result of this, three-fourths of the Gonzaga student body was out of an activity, and coaches were forced to find work arounds, holding workouts virtually or simply elsewhere in the DMV. However, this suspension raises the question: if we’re allowed to come to school, why can’t we play sports?

Since going hybrid last fall, Gonzaga has followed all COVID-19 regulations to a tee. Masks are mandatory at all times, and social distancing is policed relentlessly. As well as this, Gonzaga’s sports have been continuing, just outside of the district. There have been few health issues, and proper mask wearing and social distancing remain the primary focus of the coaches.

Football, lacrosse, rugby and crew all hold practice off campus to the same degree of COVID caution, so why can’t athletes practice on Buchanan Field?

Playing sports on Buchanan is a rite of passage for every Gonzaga athlete. I still cherish the memory of my first freshman rugby game on Eye Street, as well as my first gym class under the legendary Coach Jackson. The field is a sacred place, and training in Kensington, Maryland just isn’t the same.

Both for seniors trying to make the most of their final few sessions in purple and freshmen trying to get their first taste of Gonzaga’s sporting culture, restarting on-campus practice is essential. While games and tournaments may still be merely something to look forward to, the least we can do is play at the school we love.

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