JOANNE LEE, Sports Editor—Sports has always been an important part of many Denisonian’s lives and while the pandemic may have changed the way teams practice, it has not changed the appeal of sports and the wonderful group and community that it provides for students.
For seniors such as Abby Scully ‘21 and Kerry Lawler ‘21, this may not have been the senior season that they had expected, but they remained grateful for the opportunity they had to be with their team.
Scully ‘21 describes how “being able to have a team, community, and family to depend on made this year’s experience mean more than I ever thought it would.
As a senior, it was difficult to come to terms with what we expected our senior season to look like to what it is now. I have never been so grateful to be able to share this experience with an amazing group of women who genuinely care about each other and the community.
Even though it is not what we had ever imagined, these women have been able to make the best out of a less than ideal situation.”
Her teammate, Lawler ‘21 expressed similar thoughts.
“I have really developed a higher appreciation for sports in general, especially during this pandemic. Being at school can sometimes seem overwhelming and stressful during this pandemic.
But to me, field hockey has really been grounding. Field hockey is the most normal aspect of my semester so far and I am so appreciative of that. I think it’s hard to be cooped up in your room all the time, so having practices is something I look forward to everyday because of how normal it seems to me.
I am also so thankful that Denison is putting forth the effort to give athletes the chance to practice, as many students don’t have the same opportunity.
I think sports and athletics are really important right now because for many athletes, playing their sport is an effective coping method for stressors. I am super appreciative of my team always, but that appreciation has grown significantly this past month on campus.”
When Denison announced their plans to reopen campus in addition to continuing to allow practices with added precautions, it was met with hesitation with many who questioned the validity of putting the health of students at risk in the name of sports.
Maren Kraak ‘22 emphasized how “being on this team and on the field every day is such a privilege, and not an opportunity that many students at other campuses get. Being able to go out there, play the sport you love, while learning about teamwork and team bonding is what I look forward to every year.
While this year is different due to us not having a competitive fall, it has not stopped us from keeping our energy and effort high. Through inter-squad competitions, we still strive to better ourselves every day.”
Not only are athletes able to hone their sports abilities and bond with their team, but it can also teach many students about transferable skills such as a positive work ethic and flexibility that teammates Harrison Netburn ‘22 and Chris Giglio ‘24 touched on.
Netburn spoke on the nature of soccer and the way that “it is dependent upon team unity and collaboration to be successful. The best teams are the ones where everyone has the same positive mindset and work ethic, which is what we are continuing to strive for here at Denison. I am so happy I have had the chance to be on this team for two years because of the way it has shaped me into the person I am today.”
Chris Giglio ‘24 had no idea of what was to come when he committed to play soccer at Denison back in November – including a change of coaches and a global pandemic.
However, he has been able to make the most of his time at Denison through soccer because he knows that “no matter how ugly a situation can get, the group of guys here on the soccer team have the strength and resilience to band together and turn it upside down like we have done this semester.
“Despite being only a freshman, I have gotten to know a lot of the guys on the team very well and I can already tell that they are hard working teammates that don’t back down from challenges.
Soccer is all about facing things head on no matter how steep the hill is and I love being able to compete with a fantastic group of people by my side. Playing sports teaches you how to adapt to sudden changes and prepares you for similar events in the future.”
Being able to play sports at Denison is a privilege and it is one that many athletes at Denison are aware of.
Despite the uncertainty that Covid-19 has brought to our day to day lives, sports continue to teach student athletes at Denison the importance of skills such as teamwork, unity, work ethi and adaptability, and is not something that is being taken for granted.