Spring athletes stay in touch despite season cancellation
KSHSAA's decision to cancel all spring sports due to COVID-19 hasn't stopped athletes from using apps like Zoom and Strava to connect
April 18, 2020
For spring athletes, especially seniors whose final seasons were canceled due to COVID-19, maintaining a connection as teammates has been increasingly important.
To senior softball player Paige Oliver, connecting with her teammates and friends online has been an important substitute for the team’s daily opportunities to spend time together.
“Not being able to see each other every day has been hard, because normally in the spring we spend every day together,” Oliver said. “Being able to at least FaceTime and text has helped a lot.”
On March 31, days after KSHSAA announced the cancellation of all spring sports, the softball team held their first joint Zoom call. Oliver described how since then, during social distancing and online learning, the team has had to find creative ways to spend time together.
“We use our group chat to talk, and we sometimes do Zoom calls together,” Oliver said. “We also try to do some trunk get-togethers in parking lots to all chat and play catch.”
According to junior track and cross country athlete John Lehan, the cross country and track teams use group Zoom calls to stay in touch as well. Long-distance runners like Lehan have also discovered a new application to stay in touch while they can’t run as a group: Strava.
Strava is a social network for runners that allows teammates to share information about their mileage, routes and pace. They can also post pictures from their runs and add a description, which Lehan says allows each runner to add their own personal touch to the workout. In his opinion, the app has been crucial to keeping the team connected and engaged during social distancing.
“Sharing results with teammates has helped keep everyone accountable and motivated,” Lehan said. “I’ve been especially impressed at the seniors and non-varsity athletes who have continued training. Having diligence across the team shows the strength of our program.”
While Oliver and the softball team don’t have an app tailor-made to coordinate softball practices, she’s still done her best to stay connected with teammates and friends.
“I’ve been doing Zooms, texting my friends and loved ones and saying hi while outside if we happen to cross paths,” Oliver said.
However, despite all the opportunities for online connection and solo workouts across the school’s spring sports teams, Lehan still believes it’s not quite the same as group practices and experiences.
“Practice definitely has a different vibe now,” Lehan said. “Running alone for up to an hour is incredibly boring compared to running in a large pack. We will sometimes bump into one another, but overall, practice doesn’t have the complete team bonding experience.”