In a world where health officials are recommending that people remain six feet away from each other, ‘social distancing’ to stop the spread of COVID-19 — being a team of athletes has become much harder.
Due to rising concern surrounded around COVID-19, all Dawson County athletics have been suspended until the end of March 2020. Authorities say that at that time, a further decision will be made on what to do with the rest of the season.
However, with the season potentially starting once again in April, coaches at Dawson County have given their players instructions on how they can best stay in shape during these times of social distancing.
Stefanie Gibbs, Head Coach of the Lady Tigers tennis team, asked her players to be safe and smart about getting together, but to hit and practice amongst each other as much as they could over the next two weeks.
“The health of my players and their families is my number one goal,” Gibbs said. “The great thing about tennis is that it doesn’t require expensive equipment and they aren’t in close contact with one another.”
Head Coach of the Lady Tigers soccer team Chess Hamby said that having the mindset that the season will resume is necessary for the situation they are facing. He hopes that he will be able to recover some players back from injury during this time away from soccer.
Hamby said that the team will be relying on each individual athlete to stay in shape.
“Just a very strange feeling to go from being in the heart of region play to not knowing if and when we will play again,” Hamby said. “At this point we hope to be able to finish region play and have a traditional playoff bracket.”
Tigers golf coach William Anglin said that they decided to completely suspend any player to player or coach to player interaction during the hiatus. He said initial reactions around the team were shock, disbelief and disappointment.
“We have already had a tough time getting practices in with all this rain and now this,” Coach Anglin said. “I feel bad for the seniors, and we are hoping that they will be able to finish their season.”
Dwayne Sapp, head coach of the Tigers baseball team, said that he told his players to try to find a wall you can beat up and play some wallball by yourself. Hit if you get a chance.
“Anything they can do is better than nothing at this point,” Sapp said.
Sapp said that players should not be overly stressed about the potential end of the season, but to focus on their health and well-being.
“I hope we get a chance to get back on the field,” he said. “I hate for all the players to not be able to play out the season but this situation is unprecedented. The sun will come up tomorrow and we just have to wait and see if we will get a chance to play again.”
Head Coach of the Tigers soccer team, Patrick Muenchen said he assigned running and was encouraging his players to take initiative and organize “kick arounds.” He said that he knows it will be difficult to maintain ball touch and physical fitness.
Muenchen said that he finds it hard to imagine that the season will continue.
“It may be very difficult to resume the season after the two-week break and get all region games in,” he said. “Logistically and referee wise, I don't know how it will be done.”
As far as athlete execution goes, players agree that their physical fitness will be the hardest thing to maintain during this two-week hiatus.
Tigers soccer player Matthew Stanfill said that running is already his least favorite way to exercise, but understands how important it will be to see success once the season returns.
“I realize now how I’m so much more willing to do workouts when I’m doing them with so many other people,” Stanfill said.
His neighbor and fellow Tiger’s soccer player Blake Frazier has been trying to get together and stay in shape for the impending season, but both are starting to lose hope.
“It’s harder to stay in shape if you don’t know whether the season is over or not,” Frazier said.
Stanfill and Frazier both said keeping each other accountable during this athletic hiatus is what keeps them continuing to work out and stay in as best shape as possible.
“I mean, all we do is play video games right now,” Stanfill said. “Sometimes we’ll look at each other, and we know we should go run but we still don’t. The days we do run though…those suck.”
With seven spring sports experiencing a hiatus, there are many athletes like Stanfill and Frazier waiting to find out whether their 2020 seasons are over or not.
If Dawson County athletics continue this season, now would be a perfect opportunity to find a high school athlete and have a catch.
That is, as long as you stay six feet away.