A look into varsity athletics before and during the pandemic
Three Brandeis athletes share their perspectives on playing before and during a global pandemic.
A March 11, 2020 email from University President Ron Liebowitz stated that the last day of in-person instruction would be March 20 as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide. Over the past two years, sports have changed drastically, and this week, the Justice spoke with some junior and senior athletes who experienced Brandeis sports before and during the ongoing global pandemic.
Evan Glass ’22 joined the Brandeis men’s soccer team in the fall of his first year. Glass took the 2021-2022 school year off for COVID-19-related reasons, making him the graduating class of 2022 and return to play for the team his senior year. In a March 25 interview with the Justice, he explained that “team personnel has changed drastically, which leads to inevitable culture changes. The biggest difference between pre-COVID and this past season was the ability to bond and enjoy college life together outside of soccer. I think that directly translates to team chemistry on the field, and it’s something that will hopefully improve this coming fall with less need for COVID-related precautions.” Unfortunately for Glass, he is injury-prone and has had to sit out of every off-season. That being said, Glass has described fond memories of playing with the team. He reports that his favorite part is “Fighting to work towards the same goal as 30+ other guys. There’s nothing better than putting in all you can and seeing it reciprocated by your teammates, coaches, trainers, and the department as a whole.”
Bailey Gold ’23 joined the Brandeis swim and dive team in the fall of her first year after being recruited out of high school. In a March 27 interview with the Justice, when asked about the team dynamic before and during the pandemic, Gold explained that “Our team definitely developed a greater sense of protection for one another, both in terms of our health and our season.” She continued, “Our team was incredibly careful regarding COVID because we looked out for one another and knew that the choices of one person could affect us all. In a sense, I think this made us closer because we went through something tough together and made it so we could continue to do the sport we love safely.” Gold has fond memories of her time on the team and describes the determination of the team “both in and out of the pool” and she has been surrounded by many individuals who come together and celebrate each other’s successes.
Aneesh Avancha ’22 joined the Brandeis baseball team in the fall of his first year after being recruited out of high school. In a March 28 interview with the Justice, Avancha explained that the team dynamic has not changed since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He recalled that they are “still an extremely close knit group after the height of the pandemic and come to the field every day with a sense of excitement to be able to spend time with one another. The one thing that the pandemic has shed light on is a newfound appreciation for the game of baseball.” Unfortunately for Avancha and the rest of the team, they lost two whole seasons, which has caused them to appreciate “every practice or game and to treat it as if it could be our last,” he said. Avancha explained the importance of living in the moment at every game and practice. He explains that it is common for an athlete to look forward to another game or even the upcoming season, but it is important to appreciate the present. In terms of being a student athlete, Avancha reported that “being a college athlete is extremely challenging having to balance athletics, academics, and other extracurricular activities. Having a team that you truly love makes that experience worth the sacrifices that are made throughout the process. The relationships that I have built on our team go well beyond the game of baseball and I am extremely thankful and fortunate for the experience that I have had the past four years.”