May 14, 2021 | SPORTS | Abbey Russell | Illustration by Bibi Powers
15 months into the pandemic, some college students might admit that there are certain silver linings to the ever-negative ‘online learning’ format. For student-athletes across the country, who are often made to miss class days in the name of sports-related travel, Zoom class has offered some relief. As usual, however, this plays out a little differently on Colorado College’s Block Plan.
The general consensus amongst CC’s student-athletes, first of all, is that coaches work hard to avoid travel that involves missing school days; the magnitude of missing a three-hour block class is not lost on them. “Track is usually good about scheduling travel so that it doesn’t interfere with class,” Mar Jackson ’22 said.
Similarly, Jacob Adas ’22 of the men’s tennis team said, “Our coach does a great job trying to minimize the number of days we miss. Usually, we only travel to further locations, like Florida and Texas, during weekends, block breaks, or spring break.”
Even with coaches going this extra mile for their players, class days are compromised from time to time. Quinn Guevara ’23, a player on the men’s lacrosse team, speaks to these missed days. “When I missed class, I wouldn’t say it was a very stressful situation because my professors have been really understanding, especially this year with COVID.”
Adas speaks of a team-wide quarantine while travelling to Texas for matches. The men’s tennis team missed an entire week of class due to COVID-19 exposure and a subsequent quarantine. For some, this was a week of in-person class.
“I was lucky enough to have a very understanding professor who set up a Zoom for me and someone else in the same boat, so it was still doable,” Adas said on the accommodations made that week to get himself and a teammate through the block. “This year everyone knew the risk of getting quarantined, and I think professors did too, making it a much more compassionate and understanding environment.”
This type of quick transition, channeling in-person lectures and discussions to off-campus students via Zoom, would not have been possible in the pre-COVID era, or at least not as easily accomplished. After over a year of the Zoom-norm, the platform has opened up a world of possibilities for student-athletes. The tennis team’s week in Texas serves as a great example of how this could play out in the future.
Some are already taking advantage of this new online opportunity. “I know some of [my teammates] have logged into class during trips in the hotels and the busses so they don’t miss out,” Guevara said.
The accommodations on these trips are typically student-friendly as well, further increasing the feasibility of future Zoom-participation for athletes and generally decreasing potential stress. “Pre-COVID, we shared rooms and if you had work to do you could just go to the lobby or your roommates would go somewhere else, and you could do work in your room,” said Avery Newton ’22 of the women’s lacrosse team.
“I think the coaches and the athletic department know we’re students before athletes and make sure we’re not sacrificing our education for athletics,” Adas said.