By Contributing Writer Hannah Niemi [firstname.lastname@example.org]
After three semesters at home, UMass Dartmouth recently welcomed athletes, spectators, and opposing teams back to the field. The Corsairs are scheduled to host intercollegiate events on campus for cross country, field hockey, football, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.
“Being able to come back to the campus this fall with in person classes and activities has been great for the student athletes and staff, and the campus as a whole,” said Athletic Director, Linda Moulton. “The most important part that is back is the socialization and routine.”
Unlike winter and spring athletes who were able to compete in spring 2021 with limited game and practice schedules, fall athletes were limited to off-season play in spring 2021. Moreover, since most students were at home, many teams were not able to even have their off-season play.
“Although the season is different in many ways, I feel so lucky to be able to come back and play,” said senior captain of the Field Hockey Team, Hannah Steen. “Training in the off-season was not as easy for everyone, it was hard especially with how much life has changed since COVID. I am so thankful to be able to finish something that I would consider the best part of my college experience.”
These fall athletes did not have the opportunity to train at home as they would at school, making it difficult to stay in shape and hone their skills.
Field Hockey Head Coach, Linee Mello-Frost, said, “I am very grateful to return this fall, I thought this would take away so much from the athletes. We have a normal schedule and somewhat normal routine. COVID changed a lot, from impacting recruiting and the current players…it was a huge adjustment for everyone.”
Masks must be worn in all athletic buildings, such as the locker room, training room, buses, bathrooms, etc. There are also designated water bottles and towels handed to every athlete to avoid sharing anything that transfers germs. There are no hand shaking at the beginning or end of competitions either, instead teams socially distance and say thanks to the fans and the opposing team for playing.
Currently, there is no weekly testing. If a teammate tests positive for the coronavirus, then everyone on the team must be tested, and the team will be on pause until further notice.