A Yote’s Spirit
Written by Jonathan Barajas on April 6, 2021
The start of the 2020-2021 school year had many question marks come along with it. Covid had omitted almost all fall sports and forced them to continue their seasons in the spring. This small change made a huge impact. It seemed like a good short term solution to a major problem. This decision did help, but we would pay the toll in the long run. All student athletes were forced to adjust to the chaotic semester that would be packed liked sardines with games and practices. Coaches and athletic trainers also had their hands full as well. On top of all their spring duties -like recruiting and offseason training- they now have to navigate through all the other teams that need to practice and compete as well.
With all these things going on, it is a common question to think, “is this season really worth it?” I personally don’t think this is a true year as far as sports go. Many athletic programs had little to no time to prepare for their upcoming season. Even if they were prepared, the best of teams were no match for the corona virus. Some programs were forced to completely shut down and post pone games because many of their athletes were exposed and had to quarantine. This affected other programs as well, because they were then challenged to find other opponents in a short amount of time. Although it may seem like this season was forced, I thought it would be important to get the opinions of other athletes from different sports about the subject. That way, we can see how people of the KWU community can share and shine a light on what things look like on our side of the bubble.
Football is one sport that many people have their eyes on. It is normally one of the more popular sports at Kansas Wesleyan, and on top of that they have three games left in the spring. Football in the spring is a common thing that happens every year, this is normally a practice offseason period used to develop players and increase their knowledge on the playbook. The uncommon part of this is the regular season games being played. This throws off the usual spring training routine that coaches and players have been used to their whole lives, but if you look at it closely, the change actually helps the football team. Richard Salvador, History, a linebacker for the KWU Coyotes talks about how this spring, individual growth is key and how players should focus on their goals. Salvador also mentions how this regular season doesn’t really have an overall meaning as far as KWU becoming conference champs or earning a playoff berth, but it is still important to focus on the main goal which is getting better for next season. The games can be seen as milestone challenges to see how far the team has come, this is something that has never happened in the spring before, and it just takes some adjustment to get used to it.
Obviously, football isn’t the only sport being played this semester. Another KW program that has been hard at work is the men’s and women’s soccer teams. The soccer teams have also needed to adapt as usually their season takes place in the fall. I asked Steven Moya, a senior at Kansas Wesleyan what his opinion on the extended season was and he said,
“At first, I did not expect to play [in the spring] so I focused all my efforts in the fall”
Moya explains how, similar to football, has an offseason period to rehab injuries and rest up the body during the spring semester. Soccer players have to balance school and even make sacrifices in order to play this two part season. That is not all Moya had to say about the matter, he mentions how at the end of the day he is glad he gets to make some more memories with his teammates as well as get the opportunity to play a sport that he loves. The soccer team has handled the adversity well so far going with a conference record of 4-2-1. This is exciting news and goes to show how resilient the Coyote spirit is.
If there is any one sport that has it worst, it might be the the Cheer and Dance teams. As usual, they cheer for the major sports teams around campus all year long. With all sports being pushed into the second semester, they still need to cheer for the teams just in half the time that they usually have. Covid has not been nice the the Cheer and Dance squad this semester, they are needed to be at all major games, but at the same time, they have competitions every weekend that they need to prepare for. They now need to balance games, competitions, and a full time schedule in one semester. Marley Neale, Nursing, a cheerleader at KWU talks about how she stays organized using “an excel spreadsheet, where I list everything in [her] schedule.” This seems like an efficient way to keep track of daily routines. Neale also shares how a typical week consist of two hour practices six days a week. This goes to show the commitment of these strong men and women that work their tails off week in and week out in order to put on good performances. Along with their busy schedule, Neale says the adversity is there and they are just going to face it.
Now it may seem like the season is not worth it and student-athletes lives just got harder, but I believe there is important lessons layered throughout this whole experience. Each one of theses students explained how they were forced to adapt to the adversity that came their way. This is what they can expect in their lives as they graduate and get older. There will be times when a virus, that was made in a lab and started by a bat takes over the world and completely shuts everything down; but the important thing to do is take the adapt and overcome the situation. That is exactly what every Kansas Wesleyan Coyote did this year and everyone of them should be proud. Hopefully after this summer break, life resumes back to normal.