Castleton’s baseball team began its season on Feb. 22 in Florida against Elmira College. In March due to the weather in the New England region the team was continuing their schedule on the road. This time they were traveling to Virginia to play games against The Apprentice School, Tufts University and Saint Vincent College.
That all changed with the emergence of Covid-19.
“To be honest we kind of sensed it was going to happen,” said head coach Ted Shipley. He and his staff were internally discussing whether or not to go on with the trip. Shipley said that he didn’t want to put anyone in harms way.
“That’s where I was more concerned than the actual game or anything because I kind of sensed it was coming,” he said.
This isn’t a unique situation. Collegiate sports all across the country have been forced to a halt due to the recent developments of the coronavirus pandemic.
The baseball team had earned a record of 7-4 in 11 games when the season was cancelled.
First-year coach Josh Dionne of the women’s lacrosse team was upset that the season came to a close before it could begin. He was more concerned about the ever-changing information coming in.
“I think what was really tough for everybody was that the news kept changing. Initially we thought it was going to be like a two-week suspension,” he said.
Dionne said his team’s schedule was designed for this, outlining that the team had eight games scheduled before all of this even happened. The team only ended up playing five of those eight games.
“We were supposed to go eight games and then have a two-week break. I was really proud of where we were at culturally…so many things were going our way,” he said.
While students were trying to figure out what to do with all of the changes coming about due to Covid-19, Dionne said that he was more worried about his players than himself.
“Honestly, one of the best parts about being a coach is you have to worry about so many other people that you don’t really worry about yourself,” he said.
He went on to say that other coaches he had spoken to echoed that same message.
With everything going on in the world Dionne says that his players have stayed in contact with one another. The girls have even grown closer.
“I’ve never seen some of the girls talking in the group chat and interacting with each other and all that,” he said. “As a coach I couldn’t be prouder. Every piece of adversity obviously creates who we are going to be in the future, so this is just part of it.”
Although the team had a slow start to the season earning a record of 1-4, there were bright spots leading up to the abrupt end of the season. Senior Erin Shuttle was named the LEC Offensive Player of the Week and Freshman Elizabeth Lumbra was named LEC Rookie of the Week after the first week of the season.
Spring sports are not the only ones effected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Men’s soccer head coach John O’Connor has had to deal with his players and recruits having to change their plans.
“It’s been odd because I just keep thinking of the players,” he said. “I’m used to having so much contact with the players, and that’s been tough.”
The team’s spring season was canceled due to Covid-19, and O’Connor expressed concern about the situation. “You don’t get the opportunity to make improvements or change your game,” he said.
O’Connor said that incoming recruits, whether it be freshman or upperclassmen, will have to find a way to be seen.
“How do we see them play now,” he said.
O’Connor went on to say that some of the players who weren’t planning on attending the team’s Summer ID camp may have to do so. This camp is where players experience collegiate-level soccer and have the opportunity to get noticed.
But whether or not the camp will still go ahead is unknown.
“The question is whether we even have an ID camp,” he said.
Students and student-athletes aren’t the only members of the Castleton community who have had to adjust to life after Covid-19.
Shipley’s schedule is usually filled with practices and games with his team. Now, he’s back to a schedule similar to his offseason routine. “It’s odd. I don’t know how to explain it because I’m more concerned with the world,” he said.
O’Connor has begun working from home where he, his wife and his kids are all practicing social distancing while remaining under the same roof. “We just put in another little table here in our house so they can do work and I can do work and my wife can do work,” he said. “That’s been kind of an odd thing.”
With all of the uncertainty moving forward during this ongoing situation, there can be a lot of negativity going out into the world.
Dionne is hoping for positivity.
“We live in a world where everything is driven by facts. I feel like sometimes it makes us forget how to dream, or think positive,” he said. “Dreams do come true. What you think about actually does come into reality, and if you want something just outwork somebody for it.”