Image Credits: BITS Pilani Goa
The abrupt halt to sports due to the coronavirus pandemic has taken athletes by surprise at every level, but some college athletes say they're learning more about gratitude amidst the rapidly changing situation for students and colleges.
It hurts all of them, regardless of class, to be stuck at home, completing their lessons on laptops, confined to very little space, limited to interacting with their classmates on Whatsapp call, social media platform.
College athletes feel the same. There are an entire batch of BITS Pilani Goa athletes who’ve waited one year to compete in their annual sports fest that now cancelled owing to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
You only get one sports fest one year.
Ayush Ranjan, a third year Chemical Engineering student from BITS Pilani, Goa, and his fellow members and teammates everywhere, have waited patiently for their turn. Ranjan, for one, is a volleyball player, were relishing the opportunity of reaching the finals this year Spree '20 but said the health and safety of people is the primary concern.
“Well, our own sports fest BITS Goa's Spree'20 got cancelled due to the corona pandemic. And obviously it's a hell of a setback for me and the players since we practice and prepare the whole year for this. The guys were looking forward to the fest, we recently returned from BITS Hyderabad from their sports fest and the performance there wasn't what we hoped so all of us were looking at this opportunity to rectify the mistakes that we did there,” said Ranjan.
“Our volleyball team is a pretty decent one in our college, this year our objective was to reach the finals if not less,” he said, adding “this would have been the first year when there might have been a female volleyball team in BITS Goa but unfortunately we'd have to wait till next year for that.”
When asked about what he misses the most about college. “It's the whole life actually,” says Ranjan.
“You don't have much responsibility, just live like you like. Basically, the last phase in your whole life where you could actually live carefree and not just pretend like it.”
This is the melancholy mood slowly marinating in the hearts of so many of the 19- and 20-year-olds in our midst, all over the state, all across a nation in which COVID-19 has emptied classrooms and playing fields and gymnasiums and swimming pools.
In response to what will do when all the crisis gets over, he says “First thing would be to get back to college, hopefully the end semester exams don't get cancelled and I complete my 3rd year normally.”
“Reuniting with the team would be a great thing, everyone left in a hurry. Boosting up the team's morale would be the first task on hand, no one is happy when the tournament that you've been preparing for the whole year gets cancelled,” said the 20-year-old.
The younger athletes have the hope of tomorrow, and next year. But you’re only a college athlete particular period of time. You don the jersey once, the name of the college these 4 four years only.
Yashraj Jagtap, a seasonal cricket tennis, cricket box and cricket football player from Institute of Chemical technology, Mumbai, finds himself in a situation similar to so many other college athletes across the country, hundreds of miles away from campus and the much-awaited sports fest ICT Sportsaga being postponed, lost without his routine and his teammates.
“I have still not recovered from the fact that our sports fest has been postponed and the country has been put into lockdown. However, I am abiding by the rules and support our government by staying home quarantined and not roaming outside,” he said.
“I was waiting for it very eagerly as I being one of the organizers of the same sports fest and also part of 3 cricket teams that were going to take part in it. We were working hard for the success of this fest and also as a team player, I had trained throughout the year for this fest. But sadly, on the very first day of our fest a notice from government arrived and we had to postpone our fest,” said the 20-year-old.
Even now, he said optimistically, there can be a silver lining to COVID-19.
“On the flip side of that, it’s family time. This is a chance to regroup and do some quality time,” he pointed out.
To stay in shape, he’s working out independently – eating healty every day, in fact.
“I am also exercising daily and regularly so as to keep myself fit and also eating healthy. I hope this ends as soon as possible and till then people stay at home safely.”
They need hope. All of young athletes do. In the absence of anything else to root for, that’s not a terrible one to embrace.