GNAC suspends play amid COVID-19 Reply

By Taylor Viles- 1851 Staff

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The baseball team jogs back to the dugout after a successful inning in their season opener. Photo by: Taylor Viles

Just when Lasell’s seven spring sports teams were slated to begin playing the bulk of their schedule, everything came crashing down.  

On Thursday, March 12, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC), with input from GNAC school presidents and athletic directors, came to the hard decision of canceling the remainder of the spring season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

Preseason optimism, senior day opportunities, spring break sports trips, and chances to make lifelong memories on and off the field, all gone.

“It just kind of hit you like a truck. There was no way around it,” said senior softball captain Essie Plouffe.

The move came on the heels of the NBA’s decision to postpone their season, explained GNAC Commissioner Joe Walsh. “The NBA’s [move] really started to snowball and I recommended to the presidents it was in our best interest to protect [our student-athletes],” said Walsh.  “Sometimes the right decisions are the toughest ones.”

Although the decision wasn’t easy, Lasers acknowledge it was the best move. “At the time, I definitely thought it was a rash decision,” said senior women’s lacrosse star Jordan McComb. “But now, being where we are today, I definitely think it was the right decision seeing how crazy this infection has become.”

Emotions were handled in different ways within Lasell’s athletic community.  “I was on my way to a meeting…and our coach texted the four captains,” said Plouffe. “I started crying in the stairwell.”  

Baseball Captain Joe Sullivan had waited all year for his senior season and was “devastated” he didn’t get one. “It was tough to swallow knowing how hard we worked, not that it was all for nothing, but we weren’t going to get a chance to show off everything worked for,” he said.

Lasell Athletic Director Kristy Walter echoed their emotions. “My heart breaks for these student-athletes,” said Walter. “It’s really a shame this season was taken away from so many people. The student-athletes, the coaches and staff, they’ve worked so hard… It’s painful to me, but I know it doesn’t compare to what they’re feeling.”

Even though the decision hit hard, students knew it was coming.  “I let all my tears out before I had even found out the official word because it just felt that was going to be our fate,” said McComb.  

Since disbanding, teams have done their best to stay in touch during quarantine through Zoom calls and social media.  The softball team even created a TikTok to keep their spirits up.

According to McComb, the situation has boosted the team’s morale. “I think this happening only brought us closer in a weird way because this is something this team will never…forget,” said McComb. “We’re always going to remember our 2020 season as ‘the Corona Year’ and we’re never going to forget those girls we played with.”

Although the current global situation continues to be unpredictable, the GNAC plans to begin the fall season on time, however Commissioner Walsh knows the decision is out of his hands. “Whether or not we play in September is going to [rest] on the individual schools and the NCAA,” he said. “[However,] I’m staying optimistic that we will be able to get back to play for the fall season.

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