Athletics around The Fort during the pandemic were described as “wild,” ‘“unpredictable,” “disappointing”, “adverse”, “uncertain”, “uncontrollable'', “hopeful'', “long”, and “adaptable.” These words came from student athletes among several different sports all going through the same thing at FLC, during multiple interviews by The Independent.
According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, “COVID-19 has created new strains on athletes, thus potentially increasing their vulnerability to mental health symptoms.”
And student athletes at Fort Lewis College can agree.
“It caused me a lot of emotional traumas,” Jordan Brown, third year transfer student and FLC football player, said, referring to being so far from his home in Los Angeles during the pandemic.
“COVID affected my anxiety levels as well as signs of depression because football is my way to escape from reality,” Brown said.
“I was in a state that I was trapped. You couldn’t really get out.” Gabriel Legendre, second year sophomore on the FLC Men's Soccer team, said, regarding his mental state during COVID.
“Our opportunities were stripped, I thought we were robbed,” Makena Ahuna, fourth year senior and a setter for the FLC Volleyball team, said.
As athletes reflected on their COVID season, a common theme was that it was very complex.
“It was definitely complex because administration kept changing the rules on when we're supposed to get tested, when we had to wear masks, when we could travel, and who could travel. There was a lot of confusion and miscommunication that was always going on,” Makiah Salzano, fourth year senior and FLC cross country athlete, said.
David Oberholtzer, men's soccer coach, said that there is still uncertainty around COVID positives, even if the team itself is not experiencing any positive COVID tests. The team sees other teams’ players testing positive and it creates a weary feeling, but they continue to push through and stay positive, he said.
Minus all the anxiety, depression, and uncertainty, many players continue to have a positive attitude and positive mindset.
“This year everything is going how it's supposed to, especially the momentum,” Clayton G. Rutz, fourth year senior and FLC football player, said.
“We were lucky and we were able to train every day and that went a long way towards team bonding and team building,” Peter Bryne, fourth year senior and goalkeeper for the FLC men's soccer team said about how they are using the downfalls of last season to do great things this season. “Everyone is excited for the season.”.
“The energy is high and the team is ready,” Nya Sciatica, second year sophomore and outside hitter for FLC Volleyball, said.