The impact on student-athletes due to COVID-19

The+impact+on+student-athletes+due+to+COVID-19

Elliu Huang

Lynbrook’s spring sports teams started off the 2020 season with high hopes and positive mindsets until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools across California, effectively cancelling all spring sporting practices and eventss.

Optimism for the 2020 season stemmed from a solid start and encouraging victories early in the season. Many athletes believed that they had a chance at success, including improving their records and performance from 2019, and were looking forward to boosting their confidence and ending the school year on a positive note.

“My main goal for this season was to improve all my best times,” said sophomore Avik Dutta, member of the boys varsity swimming team and boys JV basketball team. “Since I was playing basketball during the winter season, I wanted to use this [spring] swim season to get back in swimming shape.”

The swim team only had two swim meets before the shutdown, and varsity prevailed in both of them.

Meanwhile, the tennis team also started off strong with two league match wins, one non-league match win and one non-league match loss for an overall record of 3-1.

“I thought our team had a solid chance of making CCS and moving up to Division I because we had strong singles players as well as doubles players [this season],” said junior Ryan Yoon, co-captain of the boys varsity tennis team. “The abrupt end to the season was quite disappointing as we had immense potential to do very well this season.”

The Lynbrook badminton team won two league matches and two more non-league matches, for an exciting start to the season before school shutdown. 

“I was really looking forward to the little things during our season, like getting boba before games, hanging out after practice or even just driving to games together,” said junior Amy Sun, mixed doubles player on the varsity badminton team. “A lot of my friends on the team are seniors, and knowing I missed my last season with them ever makes me very sad. It was a bitter moment when we all cheered on the seniors like it was their senior day during the game because no one knew if it would be our last game for this season.”

Besides high school sports seasons, competitive club sports seasons were also canceled. For example, Ssophomore Rachana Aluri missed out one of her most important seasons of club volleybal experiencesl.

“In our club league, we were ranked 5th in Northern California out of more than 100 teams,” Aluri said. “We were doing really well and on track to qualify for nationals. It would have been a rare and amazing experience, and I am really sad we missed out on it [because of COVID-19].”

For numerous seniors, the 2020 season was their last athletic opportunity at Lynbrook. Many missed out on traditions to celebrate the seniors’ end to their high school athletic careers. 

“The biggest thing I missed is the senior game and the banquet,” said senior boys varsity tennis player Aayush Seth. “Our senior game is not as big as other sports, but it is still really fun because more people show up, so you can show off what you’ve been working on in the season. Also, the banquet is a super fun way to close things off since we always order a ton of food and play games like telephone around the table.”

As a senior on the boys varsity volleyball team, Ananth Pilaka missed out on his last sports season  and his senior night with the volleyball team. However, Pilaka fortunately had the opportunity to participate in many similar senior events during the football season in the fall.

“’I am lucky that I played football during the fall so I got to experience at least one senior night and the emotions that you feel when the juniors give speeches,” Pilaka said.. You finally understand what legacy you’ve left on the team.,” Pilaka said. 

Because of the pandemic, athletes in the freshmen class also did not get to experience traditions that welcome the start to their high school athletic careers. 

Freshman Serena Kher was looking forward to her first track season, where the team placed in the top three regionally before the school shutdown. 

“I really wanted to experience the rush, the feeling of trying to qualify for finals and hopefully making it while making more friends within the team,” Kher said. 

For now, student-athletes are confined to their homes, and sports teams have not been able to practice or play matches. Despite these major setbacks and lack of special equipment for particular sports, student-athletes are still finding creative ways to stay in shape at home while following social-distancing guidelines.

“It is hard to stay in swim shape because I do not have a pool but I try to do things that I remember doing from dry land practices in swimming,” Dutta said.

Others stay fit by running outside regularly, working out at home with the help of watching workout videos, attending Zoom training sessions and keeping healthy habits. 

“I have beenhave also been doing some at-home workouts by following some videos, but I find it hard to stay consistent with those,” Seth said.. “I’ve also tried to get as much sleep as I can and have been eating healthy, so I don’t feel tired or burnt out.,” Seth said. 

School closures due to COVID-19 make it difficult for freshmen, sophomore and junior athletes to enjoy their spring sports season and for senior athletes to say their farewells. Nonetheless, most student-athletes are making the best out of the situation and looking forward to creating memories with their sports teams in the futureduring future sports seasons. 

“I was a bit upset because I had a feeling that this year was going to be a really fun year for me, but I am also happy that I have a chance to do my best for the next three years,” Kher said.