By Jordyn Sava
The traditional fall season is an exciting time for any athlete, but plenty of sports at the College, including baseball, were left with the absence of their season due to Covid-19.
Though baseball has now returned, Covid-19 guidelines as well as other inevitable obstacles have made this season different than years before.
Senior economics major Aydon Chavis says that a major difference between this season compared to others is the lack of time to bond as a team.
“Our traditional fall season is a big time to get to know the younger guys and get them accustomed to our program, and for everyone to really come together as a team,” Chavis said.
To attempt to keep the team talking, the players participated in various online activities from playing video games together to virtual team hangouts.
“We also had a few team meetings over Zoom with Coach to make sure everyone was doing OK mentally and just stayed connected with each other,” Chavis said.
Because of the popularity of these Zoom meetings, the team continued holding them through the entirety of the 2020 spring semester and through the summer and fall sessions. Not only did this keep up student communication, but it kept them in touch with their sport.
Junior health and exercise science major Chris Reeder agreed that these calls were not only helpful, but turned into something the team looked forward to.
“They became a big part of the system because we really couldn’t see each other in person,” Reeder said. “These meetings would last a while due to the fact that we wanted to spend time together.”
While the fall season may have been cancelled at the College, it did not stop the team from getting together as many joined a “Sandlot League.”
The league allowed them to play a few games each weekend for about two months. Some of the guidelines put into place included mandatory mask wearing even when doing activities unrelated to baseball, constantly clearing equipment and only allowing for a certain number of players in the dugout at a given time.
This got the team back to not only the sport they love, but the people as well.
As time went on and the weather improved, the team found motivation and were slowly but surely getting back to normal. Reeder began to get back into both playing baseball and training, two activities he claims really kept him going physically and mentally.
Chavis also continuously worked out to not only stay healthy, but to get into better shape than he was prior to lockdown.
He kept his mind clear through exercises using dumbbells, going on daily morning runs, cycling for upwards of an hour on his stationary bike and taking long walks with his dogs.
But staying in shape both physically and mentally was not always easy.
“My mental health suffered simply due to the fact that there were so many unknowns,” Reeder said. “Each day that went by began to feel the same because there wasn’t much to do due to the lockdown.”
Reeder found yoga and meditation to cope, something he recommends to anyone struggling mentally during these troubling times.
“These two things really help me to stay in the moment, clear my mind and allow me to understand the bigger picture,” Reeder said.
Both Chavis and Reeder also add that working out has helped not only their physical health but their mental health as well. Moving the body has allowed them to step away from the craziness of the world around them and, as Reeder said, “just focus on the task at hand.”
Lastly, Chavis said that listening and watching videos of athletes discussing their own experiences has helped him find inspiration even when he did not know when their season would return.
“Something that has helped me stay ready for the season is listening to guys like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan talk about competing and their mindset when they were playing their games,” Chavis said. “It’s something I do all the time before games and it really helps me lock in.”