The COVID-19 pandemic has left most of our days indoors has replaced fun outdoor activities such as playing sports with teammates. Nevertheless, the various obstacles caused by the pandemic did not sap Concord Academy athletes’ enthusiasm, who have been staying in shape through newer means. 

“I’m currently an in-person member of the squash team for the winter season, so that has been my athletic priority,” said Audrey Zhang ’22. Those who can learn and attend athletic practices on campus are undoubtedly the lucky ones. During sports practices, athletes can strengthen their bodies and cooperate with their friends, which allow them to improve as both athletes and teammates.  By playing sports in the winter season, athletes will need neither time nor effort to transition to the spring season in March. 

Aside from playing in-person sports, some students have also been working out at home to avoid being sedentary all the time. Isabelle Aish ’22 shared, “I do some strength training on my own time. I’m more so doing it for my own physical and mental wellbeing.” Isabelle used to wake up at seven am to work out when she had online classes in previous STACs. In addition to boosting one’s immunity, taking a run or doing some exercises in the morning can also refresh one’s brain, keeping them conscious for the rest of the day. While playing basketball at school right now, Isabelle still keeps working out on her own both for her own health and to prepare her for the spring season.

Nonetheless, playing sports and working on strength and conditioning are not the only ways to lead a healthy style during the pandemic—other activities enable people to stretch their limbs and stay fit. Like many international students, I have been taking virtual courses since last April, and I had no opportunity to participate in any in-person activity. Since all the sports I played at CA were team sports, finding a team at my hometown for temporary practices is impractical. Moreover, fleeing home directly from my roommate’s home in California last spring did not leave me any chance to pack up my sports equipment and bring it home. As a result, I was placed into a position where enhancing athletic skills was extremely challenging. Eager to jump around after days of distance learning, I suddenly thought of K-Pop dancing. Although this is a field I had never set foot in before, it is always beneficial to learn new skills, especially considering that K-Pop dancing is such a perfect combination of exercising and music. I began to come to the dance studio and take lessons every night before classes started for me. Swayin according to the musical beats, I could entirely reduce the stress and exhaustion from completing homework during the day and refresh my mind to prepare myself for classes at night. Gradually, I noticed my body becoming a lot more coordinated, and, in the meantime, my lung capacity was significantly improved, directly benefiting my flute practices. Through constant training in K-Pop dancing, I kept myself in good health, which enabled me to be ready for the next sports season no matter when I will be able to return on campus. 

Despite the various obstacles resulting from the pandemic and social distancing, athletes involved in in-person and virtual learning have all maintained their physical and mental wellbeing in their own creative ways. I sincerely hope that the situation in the U.S. will be meditated soon and everyone can saturate themselves in the brilliant sunshine in spring.

Photo courtesy of Concord Academy