Home Coronavirus Athlete’s Reflect on the Past Year’s Challenges

Athlete’s Reflect on the Past Year’s Challenges

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A set of COVID-19 protocol signage on campus. (Breegan Petruska/The Collegiate)

By The Collegiate Staff

Student life was completely flipped on its head during the pandemic. Some students are seasoned athletes who were forced to navigate the waters of skipped seasons, no gyms to stay conditioned and missing out on the community of being on a team. The Collegiate spoke with a few of them to better understand the year-long impact of the pandemic on their sport.

Shonyah Hawkins, 19, Grand Rapids

Shonyah Hawkins, sophomore guard on the women’s basketball team. Photo by Breegan Petruska

“To be honest, COVID-19 really messed up our conditioning, and how we came together as a team. It’s hard to play when you had no summer ball, no spring ball and a shortened season. That’s kinda hard when you’re playing JuCo. I learned that I am not a quitter, that I never give up. I hit the gym almost every day during COVID-19, I found a way. So I learned about myself that I never quit. I learned that my teammates got my back, well we’ve got each other’s back. I got a second chance to come to (GRCC), showcase my talents and join a team that wanted me, (a team) that wanted to win and grow, become one and be better.”

Richard Major, 22, Grand Rapids

Sophomore guard on the GRCC men’s basketball team, Richard Major. Photo by Morgan Jean Photography

“We had a lot of time off, compared to how it normally would be. We normally start in November, we didn’t start until late-January. So the time difference was the only crazy part. You gotta be devoted, honestly,” Major said when asked what he learned about himself through the COVID-19 pandemic. “With all of the gyms closed you gotta literally find it in yourself to want to get better every day. If you can’t wake up and just come to the school, you gotta find that within yourself to elevate your game. I met a lot of good people, honestly, that’s the biggest thing for me. To go from being at home all day by yourself, to meet new people and be like ‘am I going to like them’ and come out loving them. These are now my brothers and can’t nothing separate us. They’re hilarious, all comedy and they love it just as much as I do.”

GRCC sophomore and GRCC women’s basketball team captain, Danielle Lamancusa. Photo by Morgan Jean Photography

Danielle Lamancusa, 20, Rockford

“I am a social person, so the fact that I can’t go out and meet new people is a really hard thing, and probably the constant testing,” Lamancusa said when asked about the struggles she has gone through. “It is making me stronger. I feel like I am a stronger person and I am being a better leader because this is not an easy thing to do, but all this is making me a stronger person.” Lamancusa wanted to take all the lessons she learned through COVID-19 into the future. “Being a leader. I want to transfer that to my other college that I am going to, and with team stuff, just having a family.”