As we enter our sixth month of quarantine, it is easy to recognize that many things are not quite the same anymore. As the words “if” and “when” become a lot more frequent in our vocabulary, they are of high importance to many athletes around the world.
Postponing professional sports, cancelling some collegiate sports, and replacing fans with cardboard cut-outs in MLB stands are just a few changes that have been made.
When it comes to our neck of the woods, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has made several decisions, including rescheduling and/or relocating championships for the upcoming fall season. This is important because Westmont Athletics follows the guidelines of the NAIA. Several of our own sports teams — such as volleyball, cross-country, golf, and soccer — face many “if” and “when” circumstances. Lauren Friis, a returner for her final volleyball season, is taking these obstacles head-on.
Friis stated that she is “sad not only for the incoming freshmen, but the returners as well that we have to put our season on hold.”
Friis said that the team is “even more eager to get out on the floor and go claim that national championship” after “coming off of such a high last season and making it so far at nationals.”
Her optimism is shared among other Warriors as well, like senior soccer returner, Bri Johnson.
Although Johnson agreed with Friis that a postponed season isn’t an “ideal situation,” she stated that “one of our main motivators is getting back to the national championship tournament scheduled for April.”
With the season rescheduled for the spring, Johnson hopes “that our season will start on its new intended date and that this postponement will actually allow us to prepare both mentally and physically for our upcoming competition.”
Not only does Johnson hope for a positive outcome for her team, but her main aspiration for the rescheduled season is to have a home crowd “larger than seven Westmont students.”
Another senior athlete, Christopher Hanessian, has also had his fall season postponed.
The cross-country runner stated, “I’m sure I can speak for all the students in my grade in saying that it’s not fun when your senior year is tampered with, especially if you’re involved in sports.”
Hanessian went on to say, “These are some of the moments you wait for all your life and work so hard to get to, and you just want to end on that perfect note.”
In a similar position as fellow athletes in their final year, Hanessian is motivated by uncertainty and challenge.
Hanessian stated, “I am thankful for every opportunity I am given, and I intend to race my heart out and make this one of the best seasons I can.”
Looking into the fall season and the hopes and aspirations of different athletes, there is a strong presence of mental toughness. Many of Westmont’s senior athletes are leading by example in their optimism although current situations are not as they are used to.