Courtesy photo from Daniel Acosta
Even though it’s a new year, the pandemic is continuing to provide challenges for EvCC athletics. But, the sports seasons are looking promising, making coaches and athletes excited for the upcoming season.
The Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) has updated the return-to-play guidelines, prioritized the start dates for each sport, and have created schedules that consist of local competitions.
Overview NWAC Start Dates
EvCC teams transition to the Yellow Phase of the NWAC guidelines on Jan. 30, allowing larger group practices
March 1, 2021, teams will transition into the Green Phase, allowing full practices to continue and preparing them for a shortened competition season. See each EvCC’s sports schedules and rosters.
EvCC Athletics: Coaches and Players’ Perspectives
COVID-19 has changed our lives in so many different ways with postponed seasons and limited team bonding activities. Even as they get back to training, simply putting on shoes and getting to stretches will not feel normal.
EvCC’s men’s head basketball coach, Mike Trautman, shared what he is looking forward to this short season. “I just want to get on the court and be with the guys. I like being able to laugh, compete, joke around, make fun of each other and see the guys play basketball.”
Men’s basketball team captain, Devin Smith, explained what it was like not having team-building experiences from the player’s perspective. “It’s so different than last year when we could just hang out,” Smith said. “Even though we haven’t been able to be together … Everyone is pretty close already just because of the little things we do that not only helps us on the court but in school and outside of basketball.”
Practice During The Pandemic
Team building activities have looked completely different for each team, as do daily practices.
Women’s head soccer coach, Rafael Marins, shared his frustration with the situation, “One of my favorite parts of coaching soccer is the tactical aspect of the game.” He continues, “The biggest frustration I have now is not being able to work on formations, transitions, or building the strategy for our team.”
Women’s head volleyball coach, Whitney Williams, expressed her thoughts on smaller group trainings, “It is nearly impossible to imitate game-like scenarios with groups of 4 or 5 players.” “[We mainly focus] on skill development and have done our best to create scenarios for drills that may mimic those in a match.”
NWAC And Their Decisions On Guidelines and Restrictions For Schools
Disappointment mounts as aspects of 2020 bleed into 2021. But, many feel that these guidelines set in place by the NWAC are for the best.
Marins said, “The people in the NWAC are leaders and are focusing on safety … not just for athletes, but coaches and athletes’ families as well … If they didn’t do their work, we wouldn’t be able to go out there and play at all.”
“I am thankful that the NWAC has not thrown in the towel yet on a season,” Trautman said. “I just want to play … but I want to keep everyone healthy and COVID free.”
Playing The Ball As It Lies
Even though it’s a new year, it doesn’t mean that COVID is over. The coaches and players are thankful that they will compete in some kind of season.
“One of the best lessons we’ve learned as a team and individuals during this time of uncertainty and indecision is how to adapt and make the most of the opportunities we are given,” Williams said. “These are lessons our players will be able to take with them beyond their time with us.”