COVID-19 causes disconnect with Saddleback College sports teams

Saddleback College Baseball. (Sydney Burns/Lariat)

The COVID-19 shutdown has left many college athletes with a cancelled season and disconnect from their teams.  

With the season ending at such an unpredictable halt, many of the athletes are left confused and without the team connection. Baseball players were predicted to be continuing to play games until the end of May. 

Players have been participating in Zoom meetings and texting in group chats during the pandemic to make up for the loss of the team dynamic during quarantine. The future of the players has become the main focus of the connections of the team, with transferring in mind.

“We have also been doing zoom meetings just to stay updated on what’s going on with eligibility and transferring. Pretty much everything we are doing is on our own time right now,” Saddleback baseball player, Ryan Thibert said. 

Players are also continuing to stay active like they are in season, to stay healthy during the shutdown but also to keep up with their in-season shape. In order to chart their workouts and ball activities, many coaches have turned to online discussion boards to allow for sharing of activities throughout the team.

“Every week we had to send our weekly workouts that we did to our coach so he knows that we are still staying in baseball shape. But that just ended last week. So, we are on our own from this week until next year starts,” Saddleback baseball player, Ethan Holt said. 

Discussion boards do not cut it for most of the team though. The friendship dynamic of the team has been lost with the cancellation of the season. Many of the players have found friends while playing for Saddleback, so many of them have been staying connected during quarantine.

“Some players have been getting together and doing workouts in their garage or playing catch at the park,” said Thibert. 

Athletes in different sports are not staying connected as much as teams that are technically considered in season. Sports such as football that usually are set to begin again for practices in summer are questioning whether the season will continue, and are not staying as connected as a team like baseball is. 

“Because we are unsure whether the season is going to start again, we are not staying in contact with each other like we would be if the season next year was for sure,” said Saddleback college football player, Austin Moore. 

With the loss of in person contact, teams have come to a crossroads not only with how they are going to stay safe during the pandemic, but how college sports are going to continue. The future is unwritten for college sports, but the importance of human connection during this time and with teams has shown to be important to many students and players at Saddleback College.