Not every moment in sports is as glorious as it seems. Whether during practice or even live in a game, athletes are also subject to funny and potentially embarrassing moments.
Instead of a regular season, athletes have been adjusting to the “season of COVID-19,” which has brought a lot of stress. Despite this, there have still been moments to laugh about. Owen Bates, a junior on the men’s soccer team, is no stranger to the stress of COVID-19.
“Because of the COVID pandemic, every day before practice our team gets their temperature checked. A few weeks ago on a particular day, it was 95 degrees out. I didn’t think much of it. My temperature was normal, I felt fine and had no symptoms.”
Little did he know that his temperature would spike triple digits and land him in an isolation room.
“I was fine and ultimately we just had to quarantine for two days until the Westmont campus doctor cleared me to return. Now if it is hot out, and it’s time for practice, a few of my teammates and roommates joke with me, telling me to keep my temp cool so the same thing does not happen.”
Sometimes, competing doesn’t seem all that appealing. There’s a lot of creative freedom and excuses that can be made to avoid competing but Morgan Bienas, a sophomore on the women’s swim team, recalls a moment when things went too far.
“One time at a swim meet my best friend was complaining about how she didn’t want to swim her event and she said she was going to get out of it somehow. The next thing you know she jumped in the shallow end and broke her toes … I felt bad at first but, as my dad carried her out of the water, we both couldn’t stop laughing. It was definitely a funny experience but the coaches did not agree with us.”
Athletes aren’t the only ones who have been pushed to the edge and make funny choices. Abigail Stadtlander, a junior on the women’s cross country team, recalls a retreat where the coaches were feeling adventurous in the sand dunes of Pismo Beach.
“Coach Smelley drove down on the actual sand and then our women’s coach [Lindsey Connelly] jumped out of the moving bus!! … Coach Smelley also did donuts on the sand — slow ones haha since we were on a bus — but it was such a great memory and experience.”
When competing, each athlete has their own ritual or trick to perform the best that they can. For Cade Pierson, a senior on the women’s tennis team, it comes in shot glasses and dill pickle juice.
“It was during the National tournament my junior year … I used to cramp a lot when I’d compete so I drink pickle juice to get enough salt and prevent cramping … I was losing my match … I said, ‘Coach I think I need a drink.’ I walked over to my bag and pulled out the shot glasses and the spectators started murmuring. Then I pulled out the giant jar of pickles and proceeded to pour myself a pickle juice shot. Halfway through I looked at my opponent and said, ‘Excuse me, where are my manners, would you like a drink too?’”
It’s comforting to know that students who dominate in their sports also have their moments like the rest of us. Little moments like these remind us of the joys of coming together as a team aside from the victories of winning.