Student athletes capitalize on shortened seasons
Older womens soccer midfielder Chloe Tremblay said she and her teammates initially had an idea that her fall 2020 season could be canceled after the Ivy League announced that no autumn sport would take place.
However, it wasn’t up July 13th that the Patriot League ultimately made the same decision.
“I was in the middle of a meeting with someone and just saw the text messages on my computer go from zero to about 120 in 10 minutes and I just knew it,” Tremblay said. “But I got that call and then I looked at my messages and saw all the messages from my friends. I was definitely devastated. I didn’t think at that moment that there would be any kind of training or opportunity for a future season in the fall, so it really felt like it was completely over. “
Every student athlete at Lehigh has had an experience like Tremblay’s over the past year.
For the spring teams, the already running 2020 seasons were canceled in the middle of the semester because the students were sent home from school.
However, hopes remained for athletes on fall sports teams that their teams might be able to get back on the field after Lehigh announced that it would reopen campus to students for fall semester 2020.
Student-athletes on these teams spent months of their quarantine conditioning and exercising for a fall season. Jorge Portorreal, a senior football-wide recipient, said this made dealing with the possible news of a canceled season much more difficult.
“I’ve definitely been preparing very hard for a season so it was very difficult to get the news,” said Portorreal. “Especially the insecurity of never being able to play with the seniors again. We went to college together, made a lot of great memories, and it was extremely difficult to manage. To be honest, it was a pretty sad day for the whole team. “
While Tremblay and Portorreal initially thought that the Patriot League’s cancellation of the 2020 fall season would mean the end of their careers in college, both teams were able to make a 2021 spring season possible.
The spring season was welcomed and committed by everyone involved.
The teams continued their regular practice and training routines through the fall semester without the rewarding experience of playing.
In addition, team members had to be ready to adapt to changes on the fly, as a single positive COVID-19 case could set the team back for weeks.
Portorreal credits its teammates and coaches with maintaining a positive outlook on the suboptimal situation.
“Our team was pretty mature,” said Portorreal. “We understand how difficult it is to eliminate COVID-19, especially on campus. That’s why we tried to take it every day. Some days you would never know. There were days when we would wake up and go to the facility and then the training would be canceled. We obviously did our best to stay away from interactions with others and followed all the rules so that we got the chance to play. “
Portorreal added that only three games in his senior season “made the world” for him and his team.
Older men’s golfer Owen Quinn had his first moment of shock that his Lehigh career might come to an end last spring when his golf season was abandoned. The team was in San Francisco at the time to compete in a few tournaments in the west before returning to campus for the final two months of its senior season.
However, when the university announced the move to distance learning and the NCAA eventually granted athletes an extra year to attend, Quinn decided to return for a fifth year.
Quinn said a masters degree was a nice plus, but his main purpose on returning to Lehigh was to end his college golf career.
He said he was very grateful for a spring season because he would have looked back on the fifth year as a disappointment if it hadn’t been.
Quinn said he thanked his teammates, all of whom are sub-class, for buying into a season full of curiosities.
“I mean, I can’t thank them enough because it’s my fifth year, that’s all I have left, and they could have easily unsubscribed this year, how weird it was, and just waited until next year to.” to play.” Quinn said. “The other six guys are all totally committed to the game and have done everything to help our team. I can’t say enough good things about her. “
Tremblay said a competitive spring season was worth all of fall. She added that practicing and preparing games that aren’t happening can get frustrating at times, and that it gets old pretty quickly.
She said that she felt that her team’s experience was unique because for a while they thought they’d lost everything and being given the opportunity to end their careers properly made them appreciate it all the more.
“A lot of athletes graduate, then they come back and give you these lectures about how much you will miss it and how much you will regret not consuming every moment you can, and so we were in this strange situation where we had this experience to mourn the loss of football, athletics and everything that may be in our lives, ”Tremblay said. “But to actually return it, it just made everything an added bonus, and I think that helped all of us not to take anything for granted.”