From the stage to the court, extracurriculars and athletics here at Northwestern have changed drastically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coaches are determined to keep the events in March of 2020 in the past. Carrie Krohn, assistant manager of the cross country and track and field teams, explains that it was difficult to lose last year’s season.
“Thankfully, the teams used it as fuel over the summer to prepare well for our current season,” Krohn says.
There are many new rules and protocols that athletes have to adhere to in order to continue to participate in their particular sport. For Esports, changes have been fairly low impact.
“Our current protocols include pre-practice temperature screenings, daily cleaning of all equipment, and mask wearing throughout the entirety of practice,” says Cole Prescott, director of Esports.
Andrea Freeman, a junior on the Overwatch team, explains that it’s fairly easy to get used to wearing a mask while playing, along with adhering to other new regulations. “Something that’s great about Esports as opposed to regular athletics is that you can keep playing from your dorm, even if you get quarantined and the dedication my teammates put towards getting better at the games we play is inspiring. We are all trying our best to follow the guidelines and stay healthy,”” she says.
Each program experiences its own difficulties when it comes to gathering together safely. “The biggest adjustment and challenges for our [football] program has been finding meeting spaces big enough for our team and groups,” said Matt McCarthy, NW head football coach. He explains how the team was divided into two separate groups to social distance while in the locker room, and many games have been postponed this season because of athletes in quarantine. McCarthy states that the team is continuously reminded to have a positive attitude and to focus on what they can control, as opposed to what they can’t.
“Our coaches and student athletes continue to do whatever we asked of them so they can have their seasons,” says Micah Parker, vice president of athletics and a member of the COVID Task Force.
Noah Kullmann, a sophomore participating in football, says he loves the game, and will do what it takes to continue playing. “I never know if a certain practice or game will be my last, so I choose to enjoy every second I have on the field with my brothers,” Kullmann says. Players of all different sports, athletics and extracurriculars have showed that no matter what happens, they are ready to take on the challenges of being a part of a team in the midst of a pandemic.