In addition to shortness of breath and a nasty cough, the 2020 outbreak of the coronavirus presents another unfortunate symptom: mass shutdown. This latter side effect made its way to Lehigh athletics on March 12, following the decision of the Patriot League to cancel all sporting events for the remainder of the academic year. The Brown and White spoke with members of the women’s rowing, women’s lacrosse and softball teams to document their reactions regarding the spring sports cancellation.
Following three positive performances in the fall, including a double victory for both the freshmen and varsity teams at the November Frostbite Regatta, the women’s rowing team was looking forward to beginning its spring season against Loyola University on March 14.
Q: How did you find out about the season being canceled?
Freshman starboard-side Allison Lee:
“We were in San Diego on a training trip when we found out, so we were kind of isolated from the news for a while. It was really abrupt because the time zone was three hours behind. The Patriot League announced it around 10 a.m. on the East Coast, so it was like 7 a.m. Everyone was still sleeping, so our coach called everyone and we had to go to his room really early — that’s where he broke the news. It was not the best way to get up.”
Q: How are you and the other freshmen feeling about the news?
AL: “We knew that we were fighting for Patriots, but we don’t even know what that looks like or what that experience is. It was really heartbreaking to go through everything and then not even know what it was paying off for. It sucks but, at the same time, I feel fortunate that I still have three more chances in my college career to experience it.”
The lacrosse team opened its season with a 6-2 record, falling only to Penn State and Vanderbilt. The team’s season came to a screeching halt only two days before it was set to face Loyola, who sat at No. 3 in the nation. Before the cancellation, the team was on a four-game win streak.
Q: How did the team react when you all heard that the season was canceled?
Junior goalkeeper Claudia Hanover:
“It was something worse than disappointment. We had played no league games, and we had the rug pulled out from under us. We were at a place where we really wanted to be, especially after our last game. To just suddenly be told that it was over was surprising and terribly disappointing. What stood out was that the coaches had the same reaction as us. Obviously, they’re not limited to four years, so it was surprising because they showed so much emotion at the season being canceled.”
Q: How has the situation been for you and the other juniors?
CH: “It kind of shoved us into a role that we weren’t prepared for, almost. Now, we’re essentially and effectively the leaders of the team next year, which was a role that we were ready to step into in May. Now that everything is on a weird course that no one ever considered, the juniors are having to step forward and lead and keep the focus on getting better, getting faster and getting stronger — even when everyone is quarantined at home. As juniors, not only do we feel horrible for the seniors, but now we have to rush and step up into this role even when we’re states away.”
The women’s softball team began its spring schedule with tournaments in Florida, North Carolina and Arizona. The team’s season ended after its second game at the Grand Canyon University Invitational on March 11, leaving the team with an 8-9 record in 2020.
Q: How did you feel when you first heard the news?
Senior infielder and outfielder Reva Alderman:
“I was in shock, honestly, when I first saw the text that coach sent us about it. It was worse than any heartbreak, injury or bad grade you could imagine. I had knee surgery in November that prevented me from playing and practicing all fall. I wasn’t cleared for practice and games until one and a half weeks before our first games in Florida, so the anticipation for this season was greater than any other.”
Q: As seniors, how did you and your teammates cope with learning about the end of your Lehigh careers?
RA: “I think the first day or two it hit us pretty hard. Most of us have been playing softball for like 15 years, and it was a huge part of our identity and who we were, so having that ripped away was devastating. I think now that we’ve had time to reflect and look back, we’re all doing pretty well. Going into the season, we realized that it was our last season and that our softball careers inevitably were going to end soon, it’s just the way that it did end. I think it gave us all a perspective to appreciate everything you have and not let anything go for granted.”
Q: Does the team have any plans going forward?
RA: “Hopefully graduation is still taking place because the majority of our teammates said that they were going to come back to celebrate it with us. Everything’s up in the air right now, so there’s no plans moving forward at the moment. We’re just taking it all one day at a time.”