Covid-19 Strikes the Spring Silverswords

Chaminade+University%27s+empty+tennis+court+remains+locked+during+midst+of+coronavirus+concerns.

Beau Larsen

Chaminade University's empty tennis court remains locked during midst of coronavirus concerns.

In the midst of all news regarding coronavirus, the NCAA announced on March 12 that it will be cancelling NCAA Championship events, ultimately leading to the cancellation of spring sports entirely.

Chaminade University of Honolulu was forced to cancel their spring sports including golf, tennis, and softball due to the NCAA’s decision to cancel sports programs to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The termination of the season led to widespread disappointment of spring athletes and coaches that will never know whether or not this season was “the one.”

“I feel like I was kind of robbed of the freshman experience,” said Schuyler Peterson, freshman golfer from Hunting Beach, Calif. “You’re preparing for the season, you’re waiting, you’re wanting to do well and you end up getting kind of robbed of that.”

In addition to never knowing what they could have accomplished this season, these athletes will have to adapt to new teammates in the fall due to their time with their senior teammates having been cut short. Of course, it is not only the seniors that feel the consequences of this pandemic, but all student-athletes as well.

“We also won’t be able to play with the people who aren’t returning next year,” said Maddy Stockslager, junior pitcher on the softball team at Chaminade. “Our time was cut short with them because they’re either graduating or not returning. It’s just really sad that we won’t continue to play with them for the rest of the season.”

However, the NCAA announced that it will grant spring athletes with another year of eligibility. Although it may sound simple, there are more variables to take into consideration when coming back after an athlete’s senior year. These variables include monetary concerns, scholarships, and positions on the team, which depend on how each school will be executing the NCAA’s grant of eligibility. Chaminade senior golfer Gavin Bedoya plans on accepting the offer in order to complete a full season as a Silversword.

“I think it’s great that the NCAA is granting another year of eligibility to those seniors and other athletes,” said Bedoya, a transfer senior on the men’s golf team. “It’s a step that was necessary for the NCAA to do for those who had a season taken from them and were unable to finish how they wanted to.”

Despite this offer from the NCAA, many spring athletes still feel the backlash of the coronavirus outbreak. The struggle is just as real for coaches across the nation as it is here in our own community at Chaminade. Women’s tennis head coach Ty Aki is one of the many coaches at Chaminade facing the harsh effects of coronavirus. Nearly all coaching positions at the university are treated as part-time jobs, except for volleyball and men’s basketball.

“The only thing people are concerned about is where their next paycheck is coming from,” said Aki, a sixth-year head coach. “I teach at a bunch of other clubs and they are all closed. I work [as a coach] on a military base and they’re closed. I have nothing coming from the military and nothing from the clubs I work at. The only thing keeping me afloat is the pay I am getting from Chaminade. That is why I’m very positive with the school because they’re doing everything to keep us [coaches] afloat.”

While trying to remain as optimistic as they can, both coaches and athletes are staying motivated while looking forward to the upcoming season. Catrina Liner anticipated her junior year of tennis, however, it was cut short due to the NCAA’s decision.

“As an upcoming senior, next year will be my last year so I want to make an impact on the school and our program, but I think having the season cut short was even more of a motivator for me to realize that I didn’t get my junior year, so I need to make my senior count more,” said Liner, junior on the tennis team.