Lehigh football players find ways to improve, while battling the pandemic By Stuart Cundiff

Due to the current state of the world, various aspects of our lives have been altered in order to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. As the halfway point of the semester draws near, it is still a mystery as to whether it is truly safe or not for students to even be on campus. Which becomes a crucial issue for student athletes, as it has been a rollercoaster of semester for them, especially. 

The prospects of whether they are able to compete or even practice this year has been a lingering question, senior captain of the football team, Divine Buckrham ‘21 said. 

Considering sports like football rely on physical contact, it is important that these athletes get some sort of in person training yet the pandemic makes that an extremely challenging proposition. With the exception of weight training and small drills, football training relies on physical practice, running through plays as a team, scrimmaging, and drills that require a group of people. 

However, after various rounds of COVID-19 testing and weeks of quarantine, a small group from the Lehigh football team met in order to get some valuable work in.

“It’s been tough trying to get in the amount of work that we need given the circumstances. We do what we can at home and on this field but it can’t compare to the quality and intensity of the training we get with the full team.” Buckrham said. “We’re just doing whatever we can to get better.”

The group consisted of mostly housemates, with a few other teammates tagging along. Buckrham, as well as fellow captain and housemate Jaylen Floyd ‘21, led the way, accompanied by their housemate, Tre Neal ‘21. The three practiced with one another almost exclusively, in order to respect social distancing guidelines enforced by the CDC and Lehigh University. They run through a full on field workout, comprising various drills that incorporate footwork, speed, agility, and one v.s. one drills. 

It was a refreshing atmosphere for the group, as it has been months since the three were able to get outside and work together, Neal said. The much stricter guidelines enforced in the summer prevented them from having an opportunity like this, with most of them being at their respective homes away from Lehigh’s campus. However, now that they are back living together on campus they are able to have their own training sessions with one another. 

“It felt great just to be back on the field with some of the guys, more specifically Vine (Divine) and Sticks (Tre). We didn’t get the opportunity to practice in the spring like we usually would so it’s been a long time since we’ve been out there together.” Floyd said.

This pandemic has forced them to remain creative to find ways to better themselves and their teammates.

“In person, it is significantly easier to monitor teammates and make sure everyone is remaining focused and motivated. ” Buckrham said. “ …If just a handful of people are not on point, then the entire team is held back.” 

By being physically responsible, they are able to increase the amount of time they can have in person practice with a group of others. They must depend on one another and keep peers accountable in order to stay safe and continue training so that they can perform to their true potential if a season is allowed in the spring.

 

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