How Student-Athletes are Coping in a Virtual Environment

Photo Credit/ Helen Bradley

Rebecca Kotula

Contributing Writer

What began on March 12 as the cancellation of spring sports at East Stroudsburg University, has continued far longer than any student-athlete could have imagined. 

While fall and winter athletes felt for the competitors that lost their seasons, many of them didn’t think their own seasons would be affected.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread around the country, schools and collegiate leagues began announcing the postponement and cancellation of their fall seasons. 

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference announced that there would be no fall season on July 15. 

Needless to say, student-athletes were shocked. 

“I am so grateful that ESU is even giving us student athletes the opportunity to train on campus. It gives me more hope for a real season in the upcoming months,” said Dani Pescatore, a freshman on the Women’s Basketball team.

Pescatore has had to plan her days around an 80 minute commute so she can train on campus. 

Right now, she can only participate in conditioning and weight lifting, but she is trusting her positive outlook during this uncertain time to keep working. 

Jameson Kernaghan expressed similar sentiments, but as a freshman on the Women’s Lacrosse team, her season has yet to be affected. 

Her fellow freshman teammates and housemates have helped her remain positive.

“Being around other freshman lacrosse girls that are going through the same thing as me makes it a lot easier to get through this weird time,” Kernaghan said.

She has only been able to condition on campus, no student-athlete’s favorite activity in their sport, but she will take whatever she can get during this time.

Kernaghan and her fellow teammates have remained hopeful that their spring season will remain unaffected.

The Women’s Swimming team’s Madison Tafe has had to adjust to life at home this semester and not be able to train with her new teammates. 

As a new member to the team, she has been integrated into the team in news ways this year including “a ‘reading relay’ where we take turns reading the book The Energy Bus and when you’re done, you send it to the next teammate,” Tafe said.

Her team has been staying connected through online conditioning sessions and meetings over Zoom. She trains in the pool at home when she can, but the idea of hopefully having a season this winter keeps her going each and every day.

Tyrese Brandon, a freshman on the football team, would normally be on week four of the season right now,

Given the unprecedented times, they are just sticking to the strength and conditioning program provided by the coaching staff. 

With an unchanged team motto of “Work hard. Compete. Do it right,” the players have been checking in on each other and making sure everyone is staying fit and healthy.  

“Getting 1% better everyday. Yes, some days you feel unmotivated, but you just have to keep working and grinding at it,” said Brandon on his mindset.

In her last season with the Warriors, Erin Thuring is embracing every moment with her soccer team. 

She is training with her local club team as well as with her roommate, keeping each other motivated every step of the way. 

“Step out of your comfort zone, siad Thuring, while giving her biggest piece of advice for any new student athletes at ESU this fall.

“That’s something I never really did. The biggest thing is to be confident in yourself. Never doubt that just because you’re in a new place that your confidence should lessen.”  

Thuring is hoping to play her senior season this spring

Each team has been coming up with creative ways of staying connected. 

From bonding activities, academic and team families, online team meetings, community service activities and CARA workouts on campus, coaches and team leaders are trying to replicate any sort of normalcy this season. 

With the hopes of a regular season for many and a make-up season for others, every member of ESU Athletics is working hard to maintain their sharpness. They will be ready when it is time to play. 

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