By Edwin Duodu – Sports Editor
Rutgers University-Newark has recently opened it’s Golden Dome Athletic Center facility on October 1 in an effort to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic on sports and slowly ease students back in. Students and coaches who are frequently active in the athletic program have been forced to adjust. However, major questions arise from the dilemma as a whole. How long can this slow reopening of the athletic program maintain a safe and successful stature?
With the recent opening of the fitness center, players and coaches can only dream about the road ahead to getting back on the fields and courts.
“We’ve already started to open it with the fitness center. Once we get more guidelines from the governor, the president, and chancellor of the University, then we’ll work to reopen once we confirm that it’s safe,” said Tom Krychkowski, the Director of Athletic Communications.
However, just like Rutgers-Newark students, and many collegiate fans nationwide, Krychkowski anxious to get students back into the facilities to train and play.
“It’s terrible. We’re all here for the student-athletes and it breaks our hearts not being able to see them play and do what they love doing, day in and day out,” he expressed.
“I’m definitely eager to get players back on the field and have our athletes back,” said softball coach Caitlyn Seamster. “After Covid right now, any sport I would watch in a heartbeat. Football is on television right now and it’s not the normal football that we’re used to watching but I’d go to all the basketball games in support.”
That atmosphere that players, coaches, and fans have frequently enjoyed has now been erased for a while. Instead, coaches have to now reach their players by virtual meetings to try and keep them up to date with the ongoing process. Moreover, student-athletes have to find ways to not only stay physically in shape for a possible season in the future, but to also be mentally prepared. However, it’s not that easy. Although proven as a success, college athletes can’t just travel to a bubble or neutral sites like professional athletes have done in the past.
Being off the court or the field for a long period of time could raise mixed levels of nervousness and desire, but opening up the fitness center and the athletic program will encourage student-athletes to get back into the swing of things.