As the family goodbyes, travel jetlag, and unpacking have dwindled, PCC students are settling in for another semester of classes and college activities. Yet before most of these students even arrived on campus, dozens of Eagles athletes were already settling into a new routine—playing Eagles sports amid COVID-19.
For these students, a normal weekday includes more than just classes or work: it includes practice or a game. But because of COVID-19, even these activities seem different, from the way the athletes practice to the number of games they will play.
“We have had to change how we huddle. We have had to change how we can communicate,” Calyn Ohman, the Lady Eagles volleyball coach, explained about their preseason training. “It’s hard to hear through masks, so we are trying to take the time to go over everything slowly and be creative to make sure there isn’t any miscommunication.”
Many of the decisions concerning new procedures for the teams were arranged before the athletes even came back. “There was definitely a lot of preparation and planning that was put into place for this semester,” said Joe Liwosz, head coach of the men’s soccer team.
Despite the new procedures, the athletes are happy to be able to play. Brittney Hunter (So., FL), a middle hitter on the Lady Eagles, said, “Even though it’s different, I know that it is for our benefit, and they are doing everything they can to allow us to have a season this year. For that I am so thankful.”
For PCC spectators, changes include limited seating at games, available on a first-come basis. Additionally, in order to attend a game, faculty, staff, and students must present their PCC ID and proof of passing a daily health screening; at this time, fans of visiting teams will not be able to attend games. Family members of Eagles players and coaches will be able to sit in a reserved family section after passing a health screening.
Despite the unique challenges of playing sports during a pandemic, many Eagles athletes have determined to keep doing their best as they ascribe to the Eagle Way, a list of character qualities that exemplify Christian sportsmanship.
Coach Liwosz explained, “This is a great foundation that the team can build off of as we enter this different semester academically and athletically. They will hold each other accountable throughout the year so that we can stay stronger as a team.”
“We talked through the Eagle Way last semester as part of our off-season challenges,” said Coach Ohman. “The big one that has seemed to stick out to most of the girls is excellence. Doing controllable things well. There are going to be things out of our control, but we can still control our attitudes and our reactions to everything.”
Brittney said, “Going through the Eagle Way . . . has encouraged me to keep doing my best because it reminded me that God gave me the ability to play volleyball, and in all that I do, I want to bring honor and glory to Him both on and off the court.”
As Eagles coaches and athletes strive for excellence throughout the sports seasons, the knowledge that God is in control can help them stay focused. “There are going to be things out of my control, but my God is in control,” Coach Ohman said. “My God is greater than the circumstances surrounding us right now. It may not be easy, but God already knows the outcome, and we can have faith in that fact alone.”