Associate Sports Editor
COVID-19, better known as the Coronavirus, has taken away many more important pieces of society than sports. It has taken people’s jobs, lives and ways of life. It has forced us to stay home, away from friends, peers and loved ones.
It has also taken away some of the smaller, less significant things in life, sports being one of those.
However, sports too can be considered a way of life for many of us, fans and players alike. It is how many professional athletes make a living, and while many are still fine off with big contracts, there are a lot of lower league players that are still struggling.
Then there is the impact that is felt at the high school and college levels. Student athletes aren’t losing money, per say, but they are missing out on what helps pay for their schooling, or for some, all of their schooling.
But aside from the financial side of things, these student athletes are missing out on an entire season of their beloved sport. Seniors who play a spring sport will no longer have their senior season, and while the NCAA passed a bill that would give them another year of eligibility to play, some will have to leave to begin the next stage of their lives.
Millersville’s athletic coaches are also affected, because they love what they do and they love the individuals on their respected teams.
“It’s tough. We know as a program, that everyone is dealing with it. We also know it could possibly save lives. That said, it’s hard to think about to abrupt end to what could have been a special season. We had a very close-knit group, one of the closest I’ve ever coached. Our leadership was excellent. We were talented, and deep. But above all, losing the constant interactions between coaches and player and player with other players hurts the most. There’s an emptiness inside when I wake up in the morning. It feels like a bad dream. These kids work SO hard to accomplish something special and it’s hard to watch them lose an opportunity to perform,” said Millersville head baseball coach Jon Shehan, whose team was on a roll and ranked nationally before play stopped.
On how the team looks to move forward, Shehan had this to say.
“We plan on keeping in touch. I’m working on putting a plan together for players, so they are ready for summer baseball when it gets here. We have 26 players signed to compete in highly competitive college leagues all over the country. They have to be ready to go, though. That’s a challenge—especially from a weightlifting side of things. We will also be talking at least once per week in regard to their academics. Online courses are a challenge for many so we will be providing all of the support we can to make sure our student-athletes succeed in the classroom.”
The women’s lacrosse season was also ended short by COVID-19, and while they struggled out of the gate, they were looking to turn a corner.
“It has definitely been an adjustment during this time. I was disappointed about the cancellation of our season, as I think everyone was, but definitely understand and support the decision. Our team meeting to break the news about the season was difficult since everyone had worked so hard and was excited about our upcoming games, but our team really came together and supported one another to help get through it. Our seniors have been great leaders, and everyone feels for them, but I think that since then our team has done a good job of staying positive and being flexible with the situation. I’m proud of the team for how they have responded. They have all been working hard to control what they are able to and be successful academically. We are really looking forward to when we can all be back together,” said Millersville women’s lacrosse coach Cynthia Wilson.
Spring sports are not the only ones impacted, however. Fall sports are also feeling the effects, as many teams were in the process of having spring workouts to prepare themselves for the fall season. Millersville’s football team is one of those sports, as they prepare for their season starting in the spring.
“We are working around the loss of spring ball the best that we can. Our coaches are doing a great job meeting with our players remotely using videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom. The NCAA allows us to dedicate two hours per week for film study and we have been taking advantage of that. Our main priority right now is to maintain regular contact with our student-athletes to make sure that they have everything they need to succeed academically with remote instruction,” said Millersville’s head football coach J.C. Morgan.
Recruitment for fall sports is also impacted, with the inability to travel to scout or have potential students visit campus.
“As far as recruiting is concerned, we will lose the ability to go off-campus in May to evaluate recruits for the 2021 recruiting class. That is an important time for us, not only from the evaluation side but also for the opportunity to get our name and logo out to the high school coaches in our recruiting territories. We are now using electronic communication and social media moving forward. Our goal is to head into the summer with great knowledge of our recruiting targets going into their senior season. Despite the current situation, we remain confident that we will accomplish our goal, which will allow us to continue to add quality young men to the Millersville family,” coach Morgan said.
Coach Morgan has full faith in the decisions that have been made by the leadership committee.
“This time represents some interesting opportunities for our football family at many levels. However, there are many people all over who are dealing with a lot more on their plate. We will be fine and we will get through this! We are fortunate to have great leadership with Dr. Wubah, Brian Hazlett and Miles Gallagher. This situation allows life to slow down a little, reflect on some things in our lives, and to spend some quality time with our loved ones.”
While we all want sports to be back, safety for ourselves and all sports fans across campus and the world is the number one priority. We all look forward to rooting on our Marauders on the diamond, field and hardwood.