Alex Chambers ’22
The stands are filled with students, parents, and alumni. Athletes file in, still carrying their gear from their respective practices. Unfortunately, Saturdays like these will be missing from Trinity’s fall calendar.
Due to the potential elevated risk of contracting COVID-19 during sports competitions and gatherings, football, among Trinity’s other fall sports, will not be competing this semester. The program, however, known for its tradition of excellence, is determined to stay focused amid our new normal.
In place of their regular nine-game season, the team will be practicing in “pods” of about 25 players. Starting Sept. 18, these pods will be able to have shortened, one-hour practices. Head Coach Jeff Devanney said that the practices “will be no pads and no competition, so it will be all development work.”
With these restrictions, it will be difficult to develop the team in a traditional sense. To this point, Devanney said the team “will be enjoying each other’s company and [ability] to be out on the field together, but we’re not going to be nearly as productive in practicing our sport as we will be in normal times.”
Devanney pointed out that team culture will be another challenge for the team during COVID.Without opportunities to meet together as a full team, little can be done to foster a comparable team dynamic. Devanney mentioned that the team has “30 incoming first-years who aren’t able to be indoctrinated into what [our] culture is all about.”
Despite the challenges to do things the way they normally do, captain Matt McCarthy ’21 is optimistic, emphasizing that the team is “lucky to have a coaching staff that puts in countless hours in order to keep that team culture the same way it’s always been at Trinity.”
As soon as restrictions are lifted, the coaching staff plans to begin holding team meetings and finding other ways to engage players. Devanney said that once they are allowed to, they will “have meetings every night, and they’re going to have nothing to do with the sport of football. They’re going to have everything to do with our team’s culture, our team’s mission statement, and discussing social injustice and racism.”
The team plans to take advantage of this unprecedented time to focus not only on football, but also on coming together and making a difference both on and off the field and at Trinity.
McCarthy added that “Our goals, for the most part, will remain the same. We hope to become a better football team despite not having any games. It also allows us to set goals off the field and become more involved in our community.”