Makayla is a junior in her second year of journalism. She plays softball and volleyball. Makayla is an aspiring surgeon and beach lover.
Athletes Tackle a Year of Setbacks
March 4, 2021
While Covid appears to have taken a toll on everyone, did athletes have it worse? Not only was the 2020 spring sports season cut short, for a while the 2020-2021 fall, winter, and spring seasons appeared appeared to be in grave danger of complete cancellation earlier this year. Many athletes use their sports as an outlet for pent up stress or even just something to occupy them during their free time. So what was going through their heads when the possibility of losing another season was up in the air?
FCHS multi-sport athlete Jaden Ferguson said he made a point of setting goals for himself last summer. “Obviously I was worried, but everything is just what you make it out to be,” he said, referencing his motto. “I knew there was a possibility that we wouldn’t have sports, so I had it set in my head that if we didn’t, I was 100% dedicated to putting in the extra hours and becoming a better athlete on my own.” He said he wanted to make the best of what was given to him and was blessed to have a positive mentality. He believes that made him work even harder.
While many people felt they were going crazy during quarantine, sophomore John Glasscock kept his head level during this unsettled time. “At first, I thought my dreams of playing college baseball were over, which was really stressful for me,” said Glasscock.
Over the summer, however, he still had many chances to play and be seen by college coaches all across the country. “I read a lot of mental preparation books and blogs about some techniques to help me through the hard times, especially during my recruitment process,” he said.
Glasscock verbally committed to play baseball at West Virginia University over the summer and he says that pushed him to work even harder. He noted that he had his dad build him a gym in an old shed in their backyard and even put up a batting cage so he could stay loose in the bullpen for out-of-state tournaments.
“I pushed myself harder than I ever have this summer in the weight room. I even beat my [personal record] three times lifting weights because I wanted to get stronger so I could continue to gain speed and throw harder,” he added.
Not only did Covid have an effect on many athletes’ mental health, it affected their physical health as well. With many gyms and athletic facilities closed, how did these athletes stay in shape? Junior Sophia Denby, who plays volleyball at FCHS, said she tried to stay very active over the summer so that when volleyball season started, she would be prepared.
“I did a lot of beach volleyball because it was fun and an easy way to get lots of touches,” she said. She is one of many volleyball players who utilize the volleyball net that is set up on the Main Beach at Lake Monticello.
Denby also noted that she did lots of swimming over the summer. “It sounds like just a fun thing to do in summer, but it’s so good for your muscles and definitely keeps me in shape,” she said. She even drove over two hours away just to go to camps with some of her teammates to make sure her skills remained strong.
While there have been adjustments for coaches and athletes alike, FCHS was able to have a strong winter sports season, and the fall season is currently underway with hopes that outdoor sports, at least, will be able to welcome up to as many as 250 fans if conditions remain as they are. The spring season is expected to start after spring break and hopes are high that with vaccination rates continuing to climb, a “normal” season may not be quite so far away after all.