Loyola Student-Athlete Explains The Challenges of Playing Sports During Pandemic

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By: Jimmy Lynch 

Finding the motivation to play college sports when there are no games on the schedule for the foreseeable future might sound hard, but for one Loyola University Women’s Volleyball player, it is not that daunting of a task.

The Missouri Valley Conference, released a statement in the middle of August canceling all fall sports for the foreseeable future. This decision instantly changed the preparation of the athletes already on campus. 

Playing sports throughout a pandemic, finding the motivation to practice week in and week out, and juggling athletics and schoolwork are all topics that sophomore Volleyball player Katie Mather deals with on a daily basis, and she had a lot of interesting things to say. 

Jimmy Lynch: If I understand correctly, you actually came back to campus in July to practice and preparing to have a season. What were your thoughts at that time about your season?

Katie Mather: We all in the back of our minds kind of knew it

Katie Mather’s team photo

wasn’t going to happen. We were all frustrated with the situation, but there is no true way to safely have an actual season. All of us would have to quarantine. It just would have been really really hard. 

Lynch: I bet it is kind of hard to kind of find a motivation as you guys are still practicing right now. Do you have an upcoming season in mind, or are you looking further down the line?

Mather: I would say we still are very motivated. I want to be on the court but now it’s more individual training. We have so many restrictions I’m technically not allowed to see my family and we have our bubble as a team. Even though we don’t have a season and we’re not playing for anything, it’s just frustrating when we still have so many restrictions. 

Lynch: And you say all of the practices are focused more on competing and improving individually. Would you say that’s hard with new people coming in to build that team camaraderie?

Mather: It’s not as forced. And you’re not as cutthroat with each other yet. We’re getting a lot closer than typically we would. The only people we can hang out with is our team really. So I feel like it’s doing a lot for us to grow and get closer. 

Lynch: So has there been a lot of stress about not getting it because you don’t want to be the one that spreads it to everyone?

Mather: Yeah, I feel people are more afraid about being the one that shuts down the athletic department than actually being the one that gets sick. 

Lynch: Is there anything else you want to share about your experience?

Mather: The situation is affecting everyone and with everything going on this is the best that we could be doing. I’m just glad that we get to practice. I would just say it’s good and we have a good balance that I am still here and I get to live with my friends and still be with my team. 

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