‘I was optimistic until now’

‘I was optimistic until now’

We were all asymptomatic. We had no idea.

Monday, Oct. 5, felt like the start to any other week, but that feeling wouldn’t last long.

What started with routine “surveillance” testing for all winter sports teams quickly turned into our worst nightmare. 

Four positive cases on the softball team sent 18 other students into quarantine.

Four positive cases on the men’s basketball team sent four other players into quarantine.

Six positive cases on the women’s basketball team sent the entire 15-person roster into quarantine.

Rumors are spreading and questions are circulating: Why is Goshen College asking students to be strict with safety guidelines in the classroom but not on the sports field?

That’s the thing …

I can’t speak for all of the athletic teams, but since returning to campus in August, the Goshen College women’s basketball team has taken this virus very seriously.

Temperature checks and self-screenings before being allowed to enter the gym, disinfecting each basketball and soaking our hands with hand sanitizer after each drill, socially distancing ourselves in the weight room and wearing our masks when necessary. 

We lived and died by the Big Four that the school put in place to protect us, and yet our season is still in jeopardy. 

COVID-19 has inflicted panic and hysteria across the globe, derailing sports seasons at every level. 

For example, the NCAA national tournament for basketball was cancelled back in March, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were postponed until next year, the NBA and WNBA constructed a “bubble” to resume playing safely and college football experienced several delays.

Despite all of these cancellations and changes, Goshen College and the Crossroads League made the difficult decision to move forward with their seasons.

As a student-athlete myself, I was shocked yet pleased with the school’s decision to participate in competition this year. 

Basketball is my livelihood and, for the last six months, COVID-19 has undermined a major pillar of my identity. I was fed up.

Many questioned the integrity of this choice when fall sports began on Sept. 5, and I’m sure the recent outbreak has only sparked even more concern.

I was optimistic until now.

As I write this article in isolation, just 17 days away from our first game of the 2020-21 season, I am experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions: anger, sadness, confusion, shame, fear.

Fear.

It feels as though the coronavirus is inevitable.

I don’t have a fever, I don’t have a cough, I can taste and smell, but I have COVID-19, and I can’t go to class or play basketball.

Here I am, sitting in an empty room, no human interaction, food being delivered to my door, and all I can think is, WHY?

We can sit here and point fingers as we ask ourselves what could’ve possibly caused this outbreak, but that won’t help. 

We followed the rules. We were cautious. We did everything right. 

But apparently that wasn’t good enough.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m sure that additional safety measures will be put in place for all students and especially athletes.

Nobody was given a template on how to handle a global pandemic. At the end of the day, I am hoping that our team can be used as an example on how to overcome these types of challenges.

We are resilient.

We are willing to do whatever it takes to return to play and have a season.

If I have to compete for 40 minutes wearing a hazmat suit, I will do so.

Unfortunately, this is our new normal.

Graysen Cockerham is a junior sports management major and marketing minor. She is from Brighton, Michigan and is also a member of the Goshen College women’s basketball team.

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Written by Graysen Cockerham, Perspectives Editor

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