When the NCAA announced the cancellation of all remaining winter and spring sports on March 12 due to the spread of the coronavirus, teams were left without proper closures to their seasons.
As spring turns into summer and athletes begin preparing for their fall seasons, it remains unclear whether those teams will even see their seasons begin.
Boston University Athletics now faces an uncertain future for the fall semester. Coaches must navigate these unprecedented times and prepare their teams from home in hopes that they will take the field in August.
Men’s soccer coach Kevin Nylen said he is unsure whether or not his squad will be able to take the field this season.
“We really don’t know what’s going to take place,” Nylen said. “Obviously, there are so many levels to this.”
Although the future is currently unknown, BU’s dates for the teams to return to in-person practices have not been changed.
Field hockey coach Sally Starr said she is trying to maintain as much control as possible, despite the uncertainty. The plan, she said, remains that the team will return to campus on Aug. 11 and begin its season on Aug. 26.
“Control the controllables,” Starr said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, a lot of unknowns. But that’s one thing we do know. That hasn’t changed.”
Teams have faced the challenge of interacting with players and staff during quarantine, as well as preparing for the season without the ability to see one another face-to-face.
Each team’s coaching staff have been hosting weekly Zoom meetings, as well as several calls or texts a day to check in on the athletes and see how they’re handling the situation that has been thrown at them.
“We have to prepare, and I think that’s kind of a little bit of a life lesson right now,” Nylen said. “We are staying disciplined, we are staying patient and we are staying true to who we are and what we do.”
Starr said her team has been able to access workouts, yoga, breathing exercises and more for free via Peloton App.
Although they have been able to utilize Zoom and other platforms to stay connected, Starr said members of all teams miss human interaction.
“I think one of the biggest things is that they just miss each other,” Starr said. “They miss going to class together, they miss having meals in the dining hall together, they miss working out together.”
The coaches also shared the importance of establishing routines, which they said will help players stay both physically and mentally fit.
Nylen said what truly matters is not the entire team following one daily routine, but each individual establishing a routine that works for them. However, he acknowledges the difficulties that come with this situation.
“Nobody’s ever gone through this,” Nylen said. “We just try to be creative and think a little outside the box.”
Nylen said each coach is stressing to their team that although this situation may be challenging, the players should recognize the bigger picture and realize that athletics may not be a priority during this time.
“As much as we all love sport,” Nylen said, “we also have to understand that it may not be the most prudent thing right now.”
Nylen said it is important to learn from this experience and appreciate both sports and life a little bit more.
“We’re constantly learning,” Nylen said. “There is no playbook for this.”
With no concrete solution in sight, the teams are working from home in hopes that they step on the field come August.
Starr said she is eager to get back to doing what she loves most, and hopes to rejoin her team on New Balance Field.
“I’ll be happy when life gets back to normal,” Starr said, “and I’ll be really happy when I know that we’re coming back to campus, and ready to get going again.”