“The Warrior Voice,” Weekly Student-Athlete Blog: Seniors…We Love You!

Weekly Student-Athlete Blog, "The Warrior Voice."

Jamal Cooley

*First and foremost, I am in full understanding of health being first as a result of these cancellations and am not by any means using this platform as a protest or petition in any way. Everything spoken of in this article is words of encouragement and positivity towards those who were devastated from not being able to complete this semester.*

In this week’s edition of “The Warrior Voice” I took the time to chat with Senior student-athletes Anthony Torreullas and Marina Zardet.

This week, I chose to name the topic “Seniors, We Love You” to bring positivity and encouragement to the Seniors across the Warrior family that were forced to discontinue the current and upcoming spring seasons due to the CoronaVirus Pandemic.

Me being a Senior myself, my spring track season was cut short due to a knee injury occurring towards the end of the indoor season; So I know the feeling of every senior right now that is unable to compete. This tough situation has affected many across the world, causing jobs, schools, and even professional sports to suspend/shut down.

These Seniors had a lot to share about their experience with the Pandemic currently going on and more importantly a lot of words for the seniors that are unable to finish their last seasons.

The cancellation of sports for the remainder of the semester was shocking news to me being the fact that I looked forward to watching my teammates strive and help coach them as I recovered from my own injury. Marina and Anthony both felt shocked as well, just as anyone felt about this whole situation.

“When our coach texted us, it really set in that it was happening. The 2 other seniors on my team felt heartbroken and the team overall was hurt from the news,” Marina stated.”

Anthony added, “We were really shocked at first, and didn’t think it would happen. But once we saw some of the professional teams suspend their current seasons, we grew the thought that it was a possibility of canceling for us.”

As I stated, many seniors reacted similarly to this news, and it really gave an instant “well what’s next?” thought in our heads.

I knew when I found out that I needed surgery, my season was most likely over. I thought about how I could focus on my academics more and prepare myself for my future after graduating. Anthony had a similar response saying, “I knew I’d just be doing school work with the extra time from not having anything baseball-related, so it’s a good time to work time management with my academics.”

Marina spoke about how she instantly thought about how things would work with graduation, and not having an actual senior day. “I thought about what would happen next with not being able to have a senior day or even graduation if it was to get canceled as well.”

We (seniors) all can think about the different influences that our sports have had on us. In the long run, our sports careers can and have opened doors for us; I asked Marina and Anthony about the overall effect that their sport has had on them.

“Playing tennis has had a positive effect on me, opening doors for me to become a grad assistant at DeSales University (lord willing with the current pandemic).” Anthony had a different approach as he preached about the different things from the game that he can take into the real world.

“I take a lot from controlling what you can control. In baseball, you strike out and learn to keep moving forward after.” I noted when he said “moving forward after, and loved the relation striking out had with life.

We will fall down and strike out at times, but we have to continue to control everything we can control and move forward in any way possible.

In times of difficulty and controversy, I was always taught to identify the positives in every negative situation. Throughout this tough time, I looked at it as a time to isolate and focus on one self’s health, mental and physical.

Many athletes may look at the NCAA granting them an additional year as a positive. So I asked Anthony and Marina, “What is another positive that can be drawn from the Senior cancelation, as well as the whole pandemic?”

“Well, everything happens for a reason, and this can just be setting us up for something better to occur in the long run,” Marina stated.

I’m a firm believer in God and having faith, and it stood out to me when Marina touched on things happening for a reason. We may not know why the things that do happen, happen but ensure that our faith does not break for every negative, a positive lesson can be drawn out.

Anthony added, “It’s a blessing in disguise just because it’s something we never experienced before and I’m big on taking on adversity as an opportunity to grow. This tough situation can be something we can take as an opportunity to enjoy family and preparing yourself to become better in whatever aspect.”

I noted the fact that Anthony mentioned family, which is a good way to look at this situation. A lot of the athletes that compete are away from family a lot due to away trips and even some international students who don’t go home often; This could be a great time to reconnect with loved ones.

Being a senior comes with a lot of reminiscing on the good times that were spent with our teams and coaches. We try to cherish every moment as an athlete and leave marks for our underclassmen to pick up at.

The next question I asked was, “What was your best cherished moment here at ESU as a student-athlete?”

“When I got PSAC Player Of The Week, it was a great feeling because it felt like the work I was putting in was paying off and my teammates were even more proud of the accomplishment,” Marina said.

“The travel trips we take every year for the first game because it’s a fun time traveling with the whole team and the built-up energy for the season finally gets to come out,” Anthony went on to say.

I definitely can relate to both responses, with being named athlete of the week, it does bring sort of a confidence booster because you know that the work you are putting in is paying off and will only push you to perform even better. There’s nothing like the first football game of the season, releasing all the emotions that have been stored since the last time you’ve touched the field!

We discussed a lot in this week’s post about the pandemic and cancellation of the spring semester sports, and towards the end, I asked if they had any last words of positivity to the seniors and underclassmen.

“To the seniors, continue to brace the challenge! This is obviously something we’ve never experienced but there are a lot of positive lessons that can come from things we have no idea about,” Anthony said. “And to the underclassmen, I would say to appreciate the small things! Appreciate the day to day things at practice etc, those are the things that really matter when you look back!”

Marina added, “We are in this together! We can all get through it together and lean on each other. To the underclassmen, live in the moment! and not think too ahead in the future.”

Marina and Anthony both gave some great words for our seniors as well as the underclassmen who can certainly learn from this too.

Marina Zardet is a Senior Tennis player from Coplay, Pennsylvania majoring in Criminal Justice and Sociology, going on to become a Grad Assistant at Desales University. Anthony Torreullas is a Senior utility player from Lancaster, Pennsylvania majoring in marketing who will pursue a career in his field after baseball.

My last words to our seniors are that we are all in this together and I know that this situation is rough, but we can take the time to self reflect and focus on keeping our faith from being broken. To the underclassmen, take nothing for granted! Every practice, every game, every film meeting….take it like it’s your last because we never know when our last performance will be.

As always, I had a blast talking to Marina and Anthony on the positives of this rough situation, and through it all, we will continue with “The Warrior Voice” weekly! Stay tuned for Week for 4! Seniors…. WE LOVE YOU! 

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