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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

The Aquilian

The pandemic’s effect on sports on Eye Street

Gonzaga athletics tries to continue the brotherhood even during the pandemic. This photo from a padt lacrosse game shows how close teams typically are in non-pandemic years. (Photo from Gonzaga website)

This year has been different from every other, from academics to sports and extracurriculars. Some students at Gonzaga look forward to their favorite activity each year— high school sports. Sadly, this year there have been no athletic seasons or practices being held at school, and athletes and coaches are itching to get back into competition. 

Jonathan Hofmann, senior, who is on the Gonzaga swim team and has also been on the rugby and water polo teams, shared his feelings on not being able to compete.  

“I was kind of annoyed, but I understood why we couldn’t compete; it was kind of impossible at the time,” Hofmann said. 

Most athletes are not happy with the situation but remain extremely understanding about the safety of their teammates, coaches and families. Even so, athletes would jump at the opportunity to feel the adrenaline of competition again. 

The delayed competition hasn’t just affected the players; it has taken a toll on the coaches, preventing them from doing what they love. Even though organized school competition isn’t allowed, coaches still have to instruct their players to be ready for anything, including how to stay conditioned and in shape. Mr. Casey O’Neill, assistant director of athletics and varsity lacrosse coach, had a similar message to his players. 

“I have told the guys to be ready. Each week, we break down game film on Zoom with all the players. The boys have been lifting on our train heroic app through Coach Marcus Taylor four days a week on their own. [They are] also asked to do three days of heavy conditioning and five days of stick work. The coaches and players are excited to get back together slowly and safely and we keep believing we will get to play. There is no other option but to choose the road of optimism and focus,” Mr. O’Neil stated. 

The athletics program at Gonzaga is one of the largest parts of the school culture. Stands are filled for every game, students wearing purple while chanting and screaming. 

“We hope to have a window of opportunity soon so that we will be able to get back to competition.  It’s been a long year, and I am optimistic that there is some hope for us to start doing some activities and competition in the near future. But when we get back to competition things will be different for a while. We will adjust and work things out,” stated Mr. Joe Reyda, director of athletics. 

The sports seasons may be canceled, but as an athletic community, everyone is waiting for the opportunity to compete. As spring gets closer, all the athletes wonder if they will be able to play. 

“The thought of not having a senior season was heartbreaking to me. Myself and many others have worked so hard for three years, just to lose the season that everyone looks forward to,” said Adam Bilbo, senior, who plays varsity rugby.

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