The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on Frederick Community College’s (FCC) academics, with most instruction being conducted remotely. However, athletic teams have also felt the negative effects.
Forward for the Cougars men’s basketball team, Elijah White, was halfway through his sophomore year this fall when the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) decided to halt sports as the country began to enter a second lockdown.
The increase in restrictions has postponed the team from meeting until Jan. 4.
Up until recently, the team was meeting for practices at the on-campus Athletics Center. To follow recommended Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines, White explained that team members were regularly checked for temperatures before they were allowed to enter the gymnasium. They wore face masks as they played.
White explained, “The team used to huddle up at the end of practices; now my teammates and I stand in a circle 6 feet apart around our coach with our fists held in the air saying, ‘FCC on three, one, two, three, FCC.’”
This year the men’s basketball team has added new leadership with the hiring of Head Coach Jeff Chambers who has brought on his own coaching staff. White says, “The team unfortunately just started to gel as the shutdown of practices began.”
The team had lost four graduated players from last year and now there is only one other sophomore including White himself, so he has a larger leadership role than before. White says, “I know that I’m the one who has to step up for my teammates.”
White is looking to continue playing basketball after he graduates from FCC, but the lack of game time has made recruiting more difficult. He hopes to play at a four-year university on scholarship.
He is currently training on his own, going to a gymnasium that he belongs to, in order to help make up for the lack of in-person practices.
Fortunately, the NJCAA will grant all athletes who lost a sports season due to COVID-19 another year of eligibility. The change can be read more in depth on the Cougar Athletes compliance page at the following link.
Despite the circumstances, White is keeping a positive mindset, “All athletes are affected; it is far from what a normal season would look like, but the virus is bigger than sports.” Hopefully, a promising vaccine is distributed soon so that the Cougars can hit the court next year.