There is no homecoming; no watching football games at Oakland, no basketball games here, no races or competitions. This fall sports season has become a long period of training for Pitt-Greensburg.
Jackson Brody, head men’s basketball coach, has been coaching for four years. Despite the season being postponed, starting Oct. 1, his team is practicing five days a week.
“The team would start practice tomorrow if they could,” he said.
Typically, practice is six days a week, but he doesn’t want his team to burn out. He also understands the need for “a slow, progressive build to a normal practice.”
“I break the team into small pods so they can work on specific skills. Later, they will be able to work full speed and with contact,” Coach Brody said.
Junior student athlete Brittany Dunn does not think “it is going to go down well” once all sports are competing during the same season. She is involved in softball and cross country and is learning virtually from home.
In the spring semester, almost a dozen teams will need time and space in the gym to practice. This is one of Dunn’s concerns.
“With only four teams using the gym during normal seasons, it’s difficult enough to reserve time to practice,” Dunn said.
To stay in shape while she is not with her team, she works out daily and regularly stays active.
“It is more convenient for me to workout daily at home. On campus, practices are about 2 hours, but really, 3 because I get there early to prepare and I sometimes leave later after stretching and icing my muscles,” Dunn said. “Compared to at home, where I can work out and practice specific skills I know I need to improve and use those three hours I would have spent with my team doing homework.”
However, she explained that being home can be overwhelming and stressful.
“I’d rather be on campus where everything is one area,” Dunn said. “If I’m finishing practice, I can head downstairs real quick to eat. Then I have class five minutes away in Powers Hall. But now I have to sign into meetings and classes that interfere with my personal responsibilities.”
For student athletes who are worried about balancing school work, their personal life, and competing, Coach Brody is confident sports can help with that.
“It gives you more organization and time management skills; it gets you into routine for when you need to complete homework and study between practices and competitions,” he said.
Coach Brody says being part of a team helps students during quarantine and social distancing, too, which is the best part of it all.
“The team has a great personality that has helped us push through. We don’t sweat the small stuff,” he said. “No one knows what to expect, but they are prepared and determined.”