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Panther Preview: A Unique Sports Season Ahead

By: Maxmillian Robinson

Despite the uncertainty of what this semester will bring in terms of the coronavirus, our Panther athletes continue to be hopeful about a new season beginning. Even so, with new protocols in place, the offseason has numerous changes for these athletes, starting with how players can return.

Gary Book, men's soccer head coach, said that are far more questions than answers at this stage of the proceedings.

“There remain so many unknowns and so many complications and issues, particularly in terms of our international athletes, some of whom are currently unable to even enter the country due to the restrictions that are in place,” he said.

“Adelphi has done an outstanding job in terms of communication and preparedness. Getting used to the new normal is going to take some time, but much of those issues will be off the field,” Book added. “If players get the opportunity to return fully to play, we do not feel the on-field dynamic will be that different. Our program is focused on controlling the controllable.

On the field playing is where they feel safest and most at home.”

At least Book won’t have to focus on recruiting players to join his team this fall. The following season is another story.

We had pretty much completed this year's recruitment before the pandemic took hold,” he said. “For 2021, we have already moved more towards an online recruiting format, hosting Zoom meetings and virtual ID information sessions with potential recruits. Soccer being such an international sport has always been heavily invested in the provision of online video of recruits. In that respect to this point at least we have been able to continue to evaluate most players to a reasonable level.”

Adelphi’s coaches also will have some speculation about their returning players coming back to the facilities in shape and ready for the season.

“This has been a very unique spring and summer,” said men’s basketball coach David Duke. “We have not had any workouts, so we have not been able to put an athletic focus on any one thing this postseason. The guys are home working on individual skills.”

For every sport, the coaches have relied on the players to be disciplined enough to find time to stay in shape for the season. It’s up to the players to not only fulfill that wish from the coaches, but for the captains of each sports team to bring unity towards all the players for this upcoming season.

“Some of the responsibilities of being a one of the team's captains is being a leader both on and off the field,” said Jackie Brown, senior field hockey captain. “Players come to us with any issues big or small and we try to help them as best as we can. Whether that's advice on stick work or academic issues. Anything we can't help with we pass it along to our coach. We organize team-bonding activities and keep a positive atmosphere, especially with our season being cancelled. On the field, we approach the referees with any issues or concerns. Overall, we act as a bridge between the players and coaches.”

But Panther athletes are meeting the challenge. Women's basketball player Maeve MacNeill said, “I am just hungry to stay in shape and constantly better myself for my last season. At this point in my college career I know what is needed to be at my best in the fall.”

MacNeill, who is a senior, explained the team has a small number of returners and typically they’d meet their teammates at the start of the semester. “But we have had many Zoom calls to get everyone more comfortable with each other.”

While no one knows all the answers about collegiate play this season, the motive stays the same: Work hard, stay focused and stay ready to return to the game.

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