By: Joe Langley
2020 is off to a rocky start with the advancement of COVID-19. It has caused nothing short of disruptive chaos, affecting people around the globe and leaving them extremely worried about what’s to come. China and Italy have been on countrywide lock-downs for weeks.
While many decisions in the United States are still up in the air, in the sports world, calls have been made. Just about all sports seasons have been canceled or postponed. The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) suspended their seasons. The 2020 Olympics, which was to take place in Japan, has been postponed. Arguably the biggest hit to the sporting world was the NCAA’s decision to outright cancel March Madness, the Division I basketball tournament that takes place every year for the national championship.
At UMW classes have moved online for the remainder of the spring semester and all spring sports are cancelled. While this is upsetting for all spring athletes, the biggest impact is felt by seniors who will be graduating in May.
Senior center fielder Garrett Lyons shared his thoughts on losing out on his last season on the UMW baseball team. “I was extremely devastated,” said Lyons. “A lot of hard work was put in from this team, and it ended so abruptly. However, we can’t feel so bad for ourselves when every spring athlete was affected by this decision from the NCAA.” Despite losing out on the season, Lyons believes that the NCAA made the right call so help reduce the spread of the virus.
“It stinks to see the season go so soon,” Lyons said. “However, it is better off for society as a whole. At this point, it is bigger than sports, and it’s good to take precautions to prevent the virus from spreading even more rapidly than it already is.”
Jason Guintu, member of the UMW golf team, didn’t mince words when discussing his last season being cut short. “It put me in a really bad mood honestly,” Guintu said right off the bat. “I was sad that I couldn’t play in any more tournaments with this group of guys.”
Guintu has been a member of the golf team each of his four years at UMW and was looking to end his career on a high note. He stressed how much the team comradery means to this team, despite golf typically being an individual sport. This season being cancelled takes a toll on that comradery, as these seniors were the first members of the golf team.
Guintu stressed the importance that these last few months had on this group, as they wanted to enjoy their last season playing competitively with one another. The team had hopes of chasing a national title. However, like Lyons, Guintu respected the decision by the NCAA. “The health of our nation is our number one priority,” Guintu said.
Quintin Ricci, senior faceoff midfielder of the men’s lacrosse team also shared his perspective on the decision by the NCAA. “It felt like something was yanked away from me,” Ricci said. “As a senior who worked for three years to get into a starting role, it was a really tough pill to swallow.” Ricci attempted to look on the positive side, adding that the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to all athletes affected by the cancellation of the spring season.
Like Guintu and Lyons, Ricci respects the decision of the NCAA. It’s a tough call to make, but he believes that it was the right decision in the wake of the global pandemic. Ricci also hopes that the athletic department at UMW decides to honor the seniors in some way over the next year.
While the spring sports season ended just barely after it had started, the priority lies in preserving good health among college athletes, loved ones and the public. For now, society will simply have to wait for the return of professional and collegiate sports as across the globe, humanity waits for the creation of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.