This year is off to an extremely interesting start. For starters, this is the first year (and I'm a senior) that I have moved in at the same time as everyone else. Normally, I would have arrived two weeks early, moving into a half-empty dorm, starting field hockey preseason camp. It would have been a day filled with hugging old teammates, meeting new ones, and meetings with Fran and Coach Durocher followed by days of practices, team meals, team bonding, and a lot of other activities. It is my most and least favorite time of year (if I didn’t have my teammates by my side during those workouts and ice baths I don't know if I'd stay sane). However, due to our new friend COVID-19, fall athletics is looking a little bit different for us this year.
Since Liberty League and the NCAA came together and decided to cancel fall competitions due to safety measures, this season will feel a little bit more like our spring season with a lot of practices and little to no competition. While we still get to have small group practices and workouts, we won't have any full team practices, games, or even some scrimmages for some time. But nevertheless, I'm just happy I'm still allowed to put on my goalie equipment and block shots from my teammates.
For this season, our coach has put us into small groups of up to 10 consisting of people that are in similar class years as well as family units (living spaces) to minimize contact with people outside of their living environments. In these groups we can train together, whether that’s going for runs, doing an outside workout, or heading to the turf to take some shots and block some hits.
At the beginning of this, I was a little bit worried that we would not get to know and help out the incoming first-years become part of the team. In past years we've always had buddy systems to help explain things and show them around campus, as well as team bonding time to get to know each other and become closer, as team chemistry plays a huge role in success and connectivity on the field. Personally I can say that knowing the older girls on the team my freshman year really helped me become comfortable so quickly at SLU and it’s a big reason why I fell in love with the place.
However, through the use of social media and social distancing, we were lucky enough to still be able to get to know these new girls! Through group chats and Snapchat groups, we were able to begin to know each other before we got here. When we arrived, we were lucky enough to have some socially distanced meetings while rocking our new face masks, some of which were handmade by our crafty teammate Charliegh Carthy '22 (you should definitely hit her up if you want one, I love mine)!
Despite the differences and new rules that we must follow this year, I'm excited that the school and our coaches have worked hard to figure out a way for us to still be able to play the sport we love.