Could Guilford be looking at a spring with no sports?


Lillian Cadwallader

The Guilford field, usually filled with students practicing, is left empty.

When you think about college sports, you probably envision a sea of people decked out in school colors, shouting a cheer for the players on the field down below. Sadly for Guilford College, this year’s season has been nothing of the sort, as COVID-19 caused an ongoing disruption to the way sports functioned in 2020. Just as many students were beginning to gather hope for a somewhat normal spring season, a two-week full stop was enacted, yet again postponing all sports-related programs.

During the fall semester of 2020, Guilford College had phenomenally low cases due to students abiding by socially distancing and mask-wearing guidelines, allowing for the College’s fall sports to kick off on a positive note. However, a surge in the positivity rate of cases was observed after the first randomized testing clinic not yet a month into the semester, reaching 11%. Due to these shocking statistics, an email was sent to the entire athletic community at 5 p.m. on Jan. 24, informing everyone of a two-week pause on all sport-related activity, effective immediately. This was in addition to the college having recently extended fully remote teaching until Feb. 15. 

Interim Athletic Director Sharon Beverly shared her take on the current situation, bringing back into perspective the importance of the community’s health over sports, and nodding to the role that adults in the community must present for students to follow. 

Let’s not lose sight of the fact: we are in a pandemic,” Beverly said. “The primary goal is, and always has been, the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff.

Madeline Tuckley, a first-year on the women’s soccer team, had a unique perspective on the situation. She is currently in quarantine after a sports-related exposure, and has stayed in shape by doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts in her room, as well as passing a soccer ball with her roommate in the common area of their isolation room in Bryan Hall.

Tuckley communicated how this has helped her to recognize a newfound appreciation for her sport, sharing how last term’s phases increased her appreciation for the team and made her more patient with all the challenges of this semester. 

“When we got back this semester and got to have the team together it was really amazing,” Tuckley said, expressing her hopes that they can return soon.

However, this pause is not a positive one for many athletes. The specific COVID guidelines and abnormal season of this year have led to an increase of impatience for many.

Jayden Shelton, a first-year athlete on the track team, spoke about the pause affecting his goals as an athlete at Guilford. 

“I am here to break records and it’s devastating I can’t do that sooner,” he said. “Even though I appreciate the workouts coach sends us, I don’t feel as if I am getting as much out of them alone as if I were able to practice as a team.”

Kiersten Walker, a first-year on the women’s softball team, shared how though she knows this break is the right decision due to the dangers of COVID, it is heartbreaking nonetheless. 

“I love softball, so having to take the two weeks off before I even got to start is hard,” Walker stated. “The thought of possibly losing our season completely is upsetting.” 

COVID-19 has been a scooter to the ankles of our athletes for months. The protocols put in place have put a damper on the season’s progression. The conditions of practice have been exceedingly unusual, resulting in a shared feeling of desire for a return to normal life.

There was a promise to bring back sports, and though that promise was not forgotten, the obstacles along the way regarding COVID-19 are increasingly suggesting that this spring semester season is not going to be much different than last fall’s. This 2020-2021 season has been like no other, but hopefully it will be the last of its kind.