by Patrick Danielson ’21 (he/him/his)
“Nobody’s life is the same as it was last fall,” senior Mid-Distance Track and Field member Iain Anderson ‘21 said.
This semester, athletes have made tremendous sacrifices. It is unclear if certain seasons are going to happen, and those that do will have restrictions placed upon them. In order to train for the upcoming season, athletes have had to make sacrifices too.The athletic department set up two permanent tents that the different teams rotate through to get strength workouts as a replacement for typical indoor workouts. The primary mode of weight training comes from the outdoor gyms.
“I am lifting twice a week, but I know some athletes are doing three times a week” Rachel Hendricks ‘21, a swimmer, said. The workouts themselves have also changed to accomodate the pandemic.
“Our workouts are a little bit more generalized, so all of us are doing the same workout, whereas normally women’s lacrosse would have a different workout than men’s soccer, or football, or basketball,” Hayden Callahan ‘22, a junior lacrosse player, said. “But we’re mostly all doing the same things with a little bit of modification.” “Individualization of lifts has pretty much gone out the window,” he continued. “Everyone has the same weight. We each have two kettlebells and about three or four different strengths of bands, but that is able to be changed if you are able to lift a lot more”
Despite the nature of these restrictions, players do not seem to mind making sacrifices to get back into their respective sports. Hendricks said, “I’m just happy to be here; swimming gives me structure to my schedule that I just can’t find anywhere else during COVID. It’s just a little different, and something we have to get used to.”
Athletes across the board echoed this thought. Callahan stated, “I’ve been pretty positive about this. I’m just happy to be playing, and able to practice, and able to lift.” Similarly, Anderson affirmed, “Life as a student-athlete isn’t the same, but we’re making the best of it, and, most importantly, we recognize our privilege to participate in practice during this pandemic.”
Although the types of workouts have changed from the past, the quality of the workouts has not decreased as much as some expected. “It’s definitely a tradeoff I’m willing to make. We are having a different type of workout this year, but I don’t think it’s anything less than we normally get from our strength coaches. And they’re being super creative with how they do it,” Callahan said.
This positive perspective reflects the hard work that administrators put into planning the semester. Director of Athletics Chris Clunie said, “We’re following NCAA guidelines, we’re following NATA guidelines, and obviously state and local health guidelines, so we’re being extremely cautious, and I think our numbers bear that.”
At the time of writing, Davidson’s official COVID-19 dashboard reported zero cases on campus. “Our protocols that we’ve put in place, specifically our strength training – they have worked. We’ve just been really harping on safety, harping on well-being, making sure we’re being overly cautious,” Clunie said.
The athletes agreed with Clunie’s sentiment about safety as well. “I feel safe. The platforms are at least six feet apart, probably more like eight, and we put our masks on until the workout starts, you don’t leave your platform, and if you do you put your mask on. I also trust my teammates,” Hendricks said. Anderson agreed with this point, saying. “I trust that my teammates and coaches are taking the COVID precautions seriously. I’m incredibly thankful to be part of a community that takes this pandemic seriously.” The outdoor gym for student athletes, by their accounts, has been very successful so far. The school has taken pandemic precautions seriously, which has trickled down into the student body. The workouts, which are slightly lower quality, are still appreciated by the athletes. And through it all, with all the sacrifices they have made, the sports continue.