by Tim Smith
The first weekend of September is usually a time of excitement for Yellow Jackets sports fans. It is the weekend that marks the beginning of multiple fall sports, including women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer. But, this year, the gyms and fields are quiet. The stands are unfilled. Well, at least for now.
Due to the COVID-19 virus, multiple fall sports at Cedarville have been pushed to the spring, including volleyball and soccer. And this is not exclusive to the Yellow Jackets — colleges all across the nation are postponing, or in some cases cancelling, fall sports seasons. The Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), which Cedarville falls under, made the decision in early August to postpone high-contact fall sports to the spring season.
Aside from having to wait to participate and engage in a season, COVID-19 regulations have also brought some other struggles for teams.
Brett Faro, head coach of the Cedarville men’s soccer team, sees the ambiguity and unknowns of this time acting as a hurdle for his team.
“I think the biggest challenge for the team in COVID is walking in the dark,” Faro said. “There is so much unknown and constant changing that it’s very difficult for the players and staff to feel like we have a clear target of what we are aiming at or what we are moving towards. Emotionally and mentally it can be quite taxing.”
COVID-19 changes have also caused teams to lose valuable times for community and team bonding. As women’s soccer head coach Jonathan Meade put it, “Maintaining and building relationships has been the toughest challenge. Texting and Zoom calling just aren’t the same.”
Junior Olivia Hoffman echoed her coach’s thoughts: “The toughest challenge during this time for our team has been that unity that we always form right out the gate during preseason. Due to the limits we need to have due to the virus, it has been difficult to have fellowship at times, but we have gotten creative in the things we have gotten to do together.”
And yet, even amidst the struggles of the postponing of a season and changing regulations, it is evident that God has been amidst the struggle. Though traditional team-bonding could not happen, the Lord still offered opportunities for teams to grow closer together.
Volleyball junior Emily Ward said: “When things are given to us it is easy to put a smile on our faces and be happy, but during this pandemic, everyone was still so encouraged to get better when it would have been so easy to do nothing when we were sent home. I love being able to find the good during a hard time with these girls.”
Head volleyball coach Greg Smith has seen the same trust among his team, saying, “They have stayed positive and encouraging through this time and have not swayed in the fact God is in total control.”
So, although there is no volleyball or soccer happening this fall, and even though there are a multitude of struggles facing these teams, there is still hope and joy in the total control of God.
“A positive outcome out of this is trusting God more,” junior men’s soccer player Jonny Stephens said. “We have no idea what the future holds, and whether the season will actually happen. So this time we have been relying on God more because we know He is in control of everything.”
The semester is going to look different for them all, but they are up for the challenge. They will continue to train and prepare, and when the day finally comes that they can compete again, they will be even more prepared to conquer in the name of the Lord.
Tim Smith is a junior Biblical Studies major and staff writer for Cedars. He loves football, 3 Musketeers candy and primarily speaking in movie quotes.