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COVID-19 affects sports around the world and at Gonzaga

Gonzaga has been honoring spring sports seniors by airing senior day videos on its Facebook page.
By Alex Svenburg –

As COVID-19 ravages across the world, one industry has been particularly heavy hit–sports. Sports all around the world have been forced to come to halt. Professional leagues such as the NBA and the MLB have been forced to suspend or postpone their seasons until further notice. Some leagues, such as Dutch Eredivisie soccer league, have even cancelled their season without a champion. Major international sporting events such as the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2020 European soccer championship have been postponed to the Summer of 2021. 

As for sports at Gonzaga, all sports have also ceased as the WCAC announced on March 16 that all athletic activities would be suspended until further notice. There are seven different spring sports at Gonzaga including rugby, crew, tennis, track and field, lacrosse, golf and baseball. Many of these sports also have junior varsity and freshman teams, meaning that this pandemic has affected a wide variety of kids playing sports at Gonzaga, especially seniors, who are unable to enjoy and participate in their final ever season for Gonzaga. At first, athletes hoped the spring seasons for many of these sports would be made up, but it is clear now most have been outright cancelled. As the pandemic continues to escalate, concerns over how fall sports will be affected have been raised. 

“Unfortunately, we will not be able to make up this spring season.  There was some hope in mid-March that we might be able to have a modified spring season but that will not happen.  I feel bad for these spring athletes and the coaches who put so much time in preparing for the season. But most of all I feel for the seniors who are not able to complete their final season in a Gonzaga uniform,” said Gonzaga Athletic Director Joe Reyda.

However, some teams have found ways to stay connected despite the circumstances. 

“We have weekly Zoom chat team meetings every Monday. We meet, we talk about what summer’s going to look like,” said Head Varsity Lacrosse Coach Casey O’Neill.

Coach O’Neill has even found a way to make sure his players are staying active.

“We have a daily workout. Each player on the team on the date that is their jersey number they pick their workout, email it to the coaches, and then we share it on our Twitter and Facebook,” he explained.

Coach O’Neill expresses his sympathy especially for his senior players. 

“We talked about the word ‘empathy’; we’re all going through this together. We’re all feeling for the seniors, the player who didn’t get that final year and a senior day on the field,” he said.

The varsity rugby has also been able to find ways to stay connected. 

“We have stayed connected and active by the following: Daily conditioning workouts posted on Instagram by Coach Marcus Taylor, the Gonzaga Strength & Conditioning coach; Once a week yoga sessions with our yoga coach, Michelle Rodgers; Once a week match review Zoom calls – players watch a game and do an analysis of the game/players in their positions; One-on-one meetings between coaches and players,” stated Head Varsity Rugby Peter Baggetta. 

The rugby team is one of the many Gonzaga sports teams that has been heavily affected by COVID-19. On top of not being able to participate in any games or practices, the global pandemic has forced the rugby team to be unable to host the Gonzaga Rugby Classic tournament in April, unable to travel to South Africa for spring break, and unable to compete for another national championship, a competition that the team has been extremely successful in for the past few years. Coaches and players alike were looking forward to all of these activities but unfortunately, they no longer have the opportunity.

 However, despite the unlucky circumstances, Gonzaga is still making efforts to honor seniors whose spring seasons got cancelled. Over the past week, Gonzaga has been airing Senior Day videos on their Facebook page for each spring sport, including baseball, crew, golf, rugby, tennis, track, and lacrosse. The videos honor all graduating Gonzaga spring sports seniors. 

Looking to the future, Gonzaga Athletic Director Reyda hopes tat fall sports to be unaffected by the pandemic.

“We hope that we will be able to start the fall season on time. Only time will tell. I really miss being on Eye Street and the day to day interaction with the kids, faculty, staff and coaches,” Reyda said.


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