Photo courtesy of www.wcupagoldenrams.com
As we all know, on July 10, President Fiorentino made the difficult choice of continuing remote instruction from the spring into the fall semester. In turn, this led to other things being canceled. Unfortunately for all of us Golden Rams, that also meant that fall athletics were up in the air.
Not soon after, on June 15, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) announced that there would be no athletic play until after Dec. 31. Many sports were hit by this and were shocked, none more especially than our Golden Rams football team. Coming off a 9–3 record in the 2019 season, our football team seemed ready to rumble after losing to Ohio’s Notre Dame College last November in the NCAA Division II Tournament. Led by head coach Bill Zwaan, the Golden Rams have to keep ready for game time to be anytime. When asked about the uncertainty of when play returns, Zwaan said, “Whatever the other team is doing, we’ve got to be able to do it. We’ve got to stay strong if they’re staying strong, we’ve got to stay fast if they’re staying fast. So, we have to be in a position to compete as quickly as possible when the time comes.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has brought a shift in how our sports are played and how training occurs. Like others across the nation, for our Golden Rams, it means adapting to the times. As we students here and all over the world know, Zoom has come in handy in keeping our classes and our social lives afloat. However, Coach Zwaan has a different approach with his players. “We’re trying to not be on Zoom too much,” said Zwaan. “They’re on the computer all the time now with classes they’re taking online and everything they’re doing, they’re doing online right now — so we want to make sure that we’re not overburdening them with what we ask them to do.”
As other big-name conferences across the nation map out plans to return to play, the unknown still lingers for the PSAC and others across the state and nation. To think that the spring is a sure decision is a dream, but we all can hope that we see the Golden Rams take the field yet again come January and February. “I have confidence that eventually our people [PSAC] will turn around and realize it’s better equipped to have the kids on campus and doing things,” said Zwaan about the lurking decision to have a season. “I think when somebody starts playing, it’s going to make everybody feel better all across the spectrum of sports, academics and the whole West Chester community will start feeling better.”
The lack of college athletics and students around campus are certainly an odd feeling. In order to have our teams return to play, it is important that we as students and everyone in our respective communities do our part to ensure that COVID-19 does not make it to the next academic year. One specific group of athletes that are the most impacted by this are our seniors. “They still have hope, and they still are excited about what could possibly happen for them in the spring or maybe next fall, so I do see some optimism in them,” said Zwaan about the seniors of the football team. As of this season, there are 11 seniors on the squad, and, hopefully, each and every one of them see the field in the spring. For now, we must all continue to hope and to continue to do what we all do best as a campus community, and that is to keep one another safe and free of COVID-19.
Jeff Babcock is a fourth-year student majoring in communications and minoring in journalism. email@example.com