Cape Gazette Sports Editor Emeritus Dave Frederick vibrated the pockets of all five of Cape’s fall coaches and asked them the same questions regarding coronavirus and its possible effect on the fall season. In this article, Frederick shares comments from field hockey coach Kate Austin.
CG: How do you prepare for a season when you don’t know if it’s going to happen?
Austin: We're preparing as if the season is definitely going to happen. We've obviously had to make a few changes – Zoom meetings instead of in person – but we're trying to stay in touch with the girls and keep them motivated as much as possible.
CG: What about training over the summer and open fields?
Austin: This is the hardest part so far, and we're hoping the restrictions start to loosen soon so we can get on the field, even in small groups, to condition and work on skills. Fortunately, we've had Carrie Lingo offer daily workouts from April to June, and a handful of the girls are training virtually through various clubs. During our last Zoom meeting, we stressed to the girls the importance of taking advantage of the extra free time now and getting in great shape. We can't control everything going on, but they all have control over their fitness level and how much time each day they spend working on stick skills or even watching film to learn.
CG: Is it time to look at the rising senior class for leadership and perhaps designate captains?
Austin: We don't choose captains before the season. We typically get about two weeks into preseason and then the team votes for captains once they see who can lead effectively. We will look to all varsity returners to motivate each other, motivate the JV returners, and welcome the incoming freshmen.
CG: Has anyone, from the state association to Cape administration, talked to you about changes or adjustments inside your sports?
Austin: I think it's going to be tricky to have kids playing at a high level while wearing a mask. Hopefully we keep progressing through the phases and change as we learn more things, but I think that's a big challenge. I haven't been asked my opinion on the matter, but our boosters are preparing for the girls to be masked for practices and games. We have designed Cape masks for the girls to wear and hope to raise some money for Beebe through sales in the community.
CG: If it’s coach at your own risk and you feel it’s risky, would you coach anyway?
Austin: I'll be out there no matter what. It's hard when we have coaches of all different ages (including an older coach as a family member), but I think we need to get some sort of normalcy back soon. The girls need to be active and need to socialize with others. As far as parents and grandparents, I'm sure some schools are looking into ways for fans that may be at risk to still be able to watch the games. Some schools already livestream all of their home games; this could be an option for districts to look into.