William Masselli ~ Sports Columnist
When club sports athletes arrived at the University of Lynchburg on Aug. 12, they envisioned practicing and competing in their favorite sport. However, club sports teams have followed the policies that were implemented by the varsity teams. As a result, club sports teams will not be able to have large team practices and will not be able to compete through the remainder of 2020.
Recently, Director of Club Sports, Benjamin Smith explained that the university’s move to Alert Level 2 would affect club sports. Smith said, “The policy is that we would just be temporarily suspending club sports until we go back down below three active cases on campus. The college population is not hit hard by this virus. College students at least some of them believe this which makes them sometimes not take it as seriously. We can still right the ship, but the whole student body population needs to follow protocols.”
Participating in sporting teams on campus is integral to the college experience of many Lynchburg students. George Diamond, a club soccer player, explained his favorite memory to date. He said, “For me, I would say it would be a pretty easy answer, and it was the first victory that I won with my team. Our victory over Roanoke was the best moment, especially right before Thanksgiving break which ended up being our last game. We faced a lot of competitive teams last year and we played a daunting schedule.”
As the university tried to return to some semblance of normalcy amid the pandemic, Smith has been hosting interest meetings with student athletes. Diamond said, “ Our plan is to start small scale practices in two and a half to three weeks. It was a great time to have our meeting because we knew we would have new guidelines.” He also noted that Smith has been thorough in setting out the regulations and guidelines to be followed.
Another club sports player who has had a positive impact from club sports is Madison Piectrazak, a senior debate captain and women’s club lacrosse player. Piectrazak said, “It’s hard to pick what organization means the most to me because I am committed to them in different ways. I have been a member of the club lacrosse team since my first year at college, which makes it four years since I joined. However, I have only been doing Debate and Forensics for a year, however I was given the leadership role of debate captain which I take very seriously. So, neither of these organizations means more to me than another, I just have a different appreciation for each of them.”
She also said, “Club sports are not nonexistent this fall, we will still be practicing and improving skills. I am of course hoping that the lack of other activities will draw more students to debate and forensics. With that and the opportunity for more people to join the debate and forensics team, I take my position as captain even more seriously because not only do I have a responsibility to help people on my team, but I now have the responsibility to help people who might have never done this before and do this in a way that keeps everyone safe.”
Even though Smith is disappointed about the University of Lynchburg being moved to Alert Level 2, he said, “We wanted to do the club sports interest meeting early to show the freshmen class that they are part of our University of Lynchburg family. It would just be to follow the safety protocols that are setup not only for the university for class time, but also for club sports when they are going to practice. We could end up in a situation where practices get suspended. We could end up going all virtual so do your part and look out for each other as well. Communication is key.”