Field Hockey: COVID Style

Ro Murphy,

Courtesy of

With a lot of alterations being made to fall sports, and possibly winter and spring sportsas well, we are left with some unknowns about where sports teams are, and what they can and cannot do. Field Hockey, one of the sports that has been immediately affected by COVID-19 regulations, has had their season cancelled. Where does this leave them in terms of practice and team goals? Not having a season means that the team must be able to find a new purpose and a new goal to work toward. This can be more difficult for seniors who do not have another season in front of them, so, what is this team up to and what is keeping them motivated considering what they have lost?Comparing this year to last year, not only have the team’s practices been altered, but so has every task that they have had to do before they go onto the field. Thinking back to past years, making sure that each player does their stretches and agilities before practice would have been the main priority. Fast forward to this season, and there are many more tasks that are prioritized over making sure each player is properly warmed up. Taking temperature checks and answering various COVID questions before walking onto Snell Field is the new normal for this team. Senior member of the field hockey team, Addie Frey, talks about what she and her teammates partake in before heading out to the field: “UCFH is known for sitting out against the wall in front of the SMC before practices and games every day.” This, being something that they have always done, allows the team to practice social distancing all while still being able to interact with their teammates. Zia Cooper, also a senior and member of the field hockey team, talks about the importance of this interaction before practice, “We are not able to hang out in the ‘normal’ way that we are used to, so this little time we have together before practice allows for all of us to catch up on what is new and what has been happening in our lives.”Engaging in physical contact, which is something the team is very much used to during practice, is not possible now under new regulations, so this means practices have been changed drastically. Frey talks about the struggles that she has seen the team face, stating, “Everyone’s favorite drills are scrimmaging, defensive corners, and anything that is contact. We can’t do those things anymore because it’s not ‘COVID-friendly’ which is obviously unfortunate but obviously understandable.” But this does not stop this team from staying as close as possible,“The best part about our team though is how adaptable we are. Even during this time of huge adjustments, at the end of the day, we are more than grateful to just be on Snell together as a team,” states Frey. As the field hockey team continues to make adjustments to their practices, there has been one struggle that has been the hardest for them to face. Frey states, “The biggest struggle/adjustment we as a team had to make is not having games.” Although this is upsetting for the team, it does not stop them from being as motivated as possible, “Even with no games, the team is still at a very good place. This has allowed us the opportunity to get even closer than we already are even with such restrictions in place,” states Cooper. Along with staying motivated, being dedicated, even with not much to look forward to, is a key component for this team, “We are dedicated to our roles and accomplish our goals as we test both during games,” states Frey.   So how does this team maintain its team chemistry as well as positive mindsets considering all of the adjustments that they have had to make? Being there for each other seems to be the strongest way that they are able to maintain their team relationship. Relying on each other is how they are able to do this, “When one falls we all fall, but preparing for these practices mentally and physically on our own and together during summer league, we were able to pick one another up to prevent the domino effect from impacting the entire team during this practice season,” states Frey. The loss of their season has given this team a spark that they have not felt before. It has permitted them to push for more and more in each practice, and they are not letting the pandemic get in their way of continuing to grow and learn as a team: “This practice season has and will be really testing our unity and dedication to our sport, but I never lost hope that any of that will diminish even if COVID is trying to get in our way,” Frey concludes.   Wishing the best of luck to this Field Hockey team as they continue to make adjustments to their daily practices. Go Bears!