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Arruda: I am lost, and I’m not even an athlete

By Joe Arruda
@joearruda9

When Springfield College announced that there were not going to be any intercollegiate athletic competitions this fall, I was devastated.

I shared the news on Twitter as I helped set up a graduation party for one of my good friends who was unable to walk the stage in a typical graduation ceremony. While taping down table cloths and hanging decorations, all I could think about was what this semester would look like.

Before being sent home early in the spring semester, I was busier than I’d ever been. It was my first semester as the “Sports Editor” for The Springfield Student and I was simultaneously completing my first internship as a high school sports reporter for The Daily Hampshire Gazette.

The semester started off in Blake Arena with the grind of covering Hoophall, and ended on the same hardwood covering the “Birthplace Boys” run in the NCAA tournament.

I had no free time on my hands, but it was just the way I wanted it.

Live sports were such a major part of my college life – their schedules determined mine.

Being back on campus without them, well, it is clear that not only my life has been affected. The whole campus vibe is off. Maybe it’s not just about the sports – the fact that you can’t see anyone’s face walking around campus might have something to do with it – but without that structure I am lost.

I am lost, and I’m not even an athlete – I couldn’t even start to imagine what it would be like missing out on a senior season.

There is a certain toll that this pandemic has taken on all of us. The sudden flip of the switch that put a pause on all of our lives, directly forcing us into a mental terrain that has never been discovered. Finding ways to adapt to the new environment, the masks and the rectangular “Zoom” screens, is the only way we can make it out.

Obviously, it makes sense why we don’t have sports. I am not ignoring or downplaying the risks of the pandemic in any sense.

Running a sports section without any live sports will be tough, and it already has been. I am tired already of having every story have to do with the fact that things are different – that something is missing.

But it is a new challenge. An opportunity to take it slow and to learn while still providing quality sports content for our readership.

Just because there aren’t intercollegiate sports competitions on campus doesn’t mean that there aren’t still stories. Everyone has a story that is waiting to be told, and I am here to share them.

So while I was looking forward to taking over the football beat this fall, I am still excited for the challenge of digging deeper and finding something behind the masks.

Almost one-third of the Springfield College student body are student-athletes (31 percent, according to the College’s website), and not only that one third are missing sports.

I think about how many people came out and packed Blake when the men’s basketball team played against Hobart in the NCAA tournament, or how many were there to watch the men’s volleyball team earn their revenge against No. 1 SUNY New Paltz.

It is sadness.

It is devastation.

But it is a time to discover new terrain.

Photo Courtesy of Joe Arruda

 

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