On Feb. 23, New Paltz students got a long awaited email about the resumption of spring sports for the 2021 season.
The spring sports that will be resumed included baseball, softball, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse and women’s tennis. What was not included in the press release, however, was the fate of club sports.
Club sports have been a part of SUNY New Paltz culture for years, and also got heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This week I reached out to representatives of some of our popular club sports on campus to see if this news about varsity athletics making a comeback meant a possible return for them, too.
Third-year Luke Fortuna: Captain of Men’s Rugby Team
“We can’t do anything in person yet. Spring is our ‘off-season’ so we are mainly focused on staying in shape. It’s quite frustrating not being a varsity sport on campus. We work as hard, we compete at the same high levels, and we’re always left with the scraps of what the varsity teams get. Being a club sport means that we the players (students) have to set up our own schedule, buy our own equipment, reserve the field and set up busses for games. It also hurts when any of the players are working out at the gym, they’ll look out the window and see a varsity sport practicing on the turf field. They ask me why we aren’t out there practicing and I truly don’t have an answer anymore. The best way to learn the sport is through practice and I have five new members who haven’t touched a rugby ball yet.”
Fourth-Year Jenna Morrissey: Vice President of New Paltz Quidditch
“Since we got the campus notice on March 11  cancelling all campus events, we haven’t been able to officially meet. In the New Paltz Forward Plan it states: ‘Groups structured around physical exercise, performance and musical rehearsal/practices will be restricted to online events, due to the increased risk of coronavirus transmission associated with these kinds of activities.’ We’ve been at the club fairs and have a group chat, but that’s about it. We haven’t heard from the school about being about how things will be next semester for athletic clubs. A lot of us are upperclassmen so it’s sad to see. But all of us respect the COVID guidelines- we don’t want to spread the virus!”
Second-year Brooke Salsbury: Treasure of New Paltz Dance Team
“We were not offered studio space to practice so all of our practices are online through Zoom…We meet twice a week and do different things including stretch classes, choreography and team bonding. I think dance was canceled because we practice indoors which is [a] higher risk than lacrosse being outdoors. Dance team is still working on some dance pieces that will be made into a video to show off our hard work this year. It doesn’t look like we will be able to compete this year due to competitions not being held and the risk of traveling.”
Fourth-year Caroline Casparian: Ultimate Frisbee
“Club sports were basically cancelled. Guidelines came out for club sports that included meetings of ten people or less, only if absolutely necessary. Because of this, we did not meet as a team at all on campus [for the Fall]. For the Spring, we have not heard anything yet about our guidelines. We know that D3 teams are starting to practice with a limited amount of people, so we will be reaching out to see if this is a possibility for us as well. If it is, we will start to move to small practices of about 10 people and safely do cutting/handling drills to get back in shape for next year. We likely won’t be playing any other teams until next year though.”