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Student-athletes adapt to a team-less lifestyle amidst COVID-19 pandemic

The COC football team is usually on the field together every fall, but this season, they are staying connected virtually. Photo courtesy Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director

A day in the life of a student-athlete usually consists of a day full of responsibilities while juggling a personal life, student life and teammate life. To many athletes, their day being full of activities gives them strength to develop multitasking talents, and many depend on that rush for perseverance and motivation.

“That excitement, busyness, and keeping track of school and classes, you’re surrounded by teammates and coaches a lot that gives us value to who we are,” sophomore College of the Canyons tennis player Mary McAdam said. “That can not be replicated over Zoom.” 

When COVID-19 hit earlier this year, student-athletes had to adjust to their new online lifestyle. Team bonding online has been tough; many of the athletes do not know their team on a personal level. Building a bond through the screen is different. Not being able to see other teammates’ body language, and not having a conversation about their life lacks the traditional definition of being a supportive teammate. 

“The sense of community you have with your teammates, there is nothing that compares to it,” Breanna Kelly, a sophomore women’s volleyball player said. “We have family stuff going on too, we have lives outside of being a student-athlete, believe it or not. We would come together and make each other stronger, you have 16 other people to cry to.”  

Although athletes pour their energy into their team and sport, they are also students. Student-athletes are held responsible to uphold their college commitments to be a student first and be an athlete second. The learning shift from being in a classroom to a computer screen affects their commitment due to several on-campus resources, such as the College of the Canyons Learning Center being shifted to a Zoom meeting. Through this transition, athletes have developed their own way to excel in their academic studies. 

“Most of all of us are competitors. We like to compete, so that means wherever and in the classroom, I want to learn but it is this aspect of wanting to get better at something that really drives me to study,” said Joel Carrilo, a sophomore on the men’s basketball team. “That’s how I see myself getting better in the classroom, it’s so beneficial for us to have that in-person connection.” 

Despite these changes, several student-athletes are optimistic and look forward to their new surrounding changes. Although adapting to these changes may be difficult, their competitiveness continues to motivate them to be the best they can to improve their performance. 

 “I think for a lot of us, a majority of us, online is not suitable for us. It is what it is,” Joshua J. Christopher, a freshman College of the Canyons football player said. “We have to finish off this year and hopefully next year things change.” 

From Canyons News: Daniela Perez, Roberto Marcial, Teresa Mendez, Anthony Nubile

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