For schools across the country the question “Will there be sports this year?” is being asked by thousands for the first time in history. Oklahoma Christian University is no exception. For many of the sports teams here scrimmages, games and seasons are not guaranteed. The Lone Star Conference, which Oklahoma Christian is a part of, has delayed all fall sports into the spring semester as a COVID-19 precaution.
Harrison Martin, a senior and power forward for the Eagles basketball team, said the team is nervous about the situationbut is confident the season will return in the spring.
“Right now, the coach is really encouraging mask use and social distancing,” Martin said. “We are even required to wear masks during workouts or lifts. The guys are pretty nervous, specifically upperclassmen. All we can be is thankful that the conference is willing to try for games in January.”
Martin believes the season will return but says if it does not return he would consider taking a fifth year to use his final year of eligibility.
“At the moment we are confident basketball will return in the spring,” Martin said. “I would most definitely consider taking a fifth year. I can’t imagine my career-ending without any games. I’m very grateful we were given that opportunity.”
Volleyball player Allysa Hamlin said that the volleyball team’s routine coming into their first year of play was greatly disrupted by COVID-19.
“Because of COVID, we have not been able to have scheduled practices or workouts together,” Hamlin said. “With volleyball being a new program at OC, half of the volleyball team are first years here, but I have not been able to get to know them due to social distancing precautions. They are all such amazing people, so it is killing me not to be able to fully jump into the season with them.”
Hamlin also said that while she is disappointed the team’s inaugural season was delayed, the team morale has remained strong despite the uncertainty.
“I was disappointed when the team’s season was pushed back, as last year we spent two full semesters just practicing for a moment that ended up being postponed a whole extra semester,” Hamlin said. “We were all very excited to actually compete in games. However, everyone is being a good sport about it. The whole nation is in this together and we just want what is the most practical and safe option.”
With all of the regulations and information surrounding COVID-19, Hamlin said the school’s precautions are necessary and she is hopeful for her season.
“From a clinical perspective, the precautions taken by the school to protect the sports teams are definitely called for, especially for indoor and close-contact sports,” Hamlin said. “From a social perspective, it is going to be challenging to get used to wearing a mask during physical activity and refrain from congratulating teammates with a high five or hug. You could say I have a love-hate relationship with the precautionary measures put in place. I am hopeful that we will get to compete next semester, but I am also trying to prepare for the possibility that it could be canceled altogether. I am just going to remain in constant prayer for the safety of our country and the deliverance of a vaccine.”