Posted on: September 3, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Ethan Holesha, Sports Editor

Moraine Valley athletic director Bill Finn is doing everything in his power to keep his coaches and athletes involved in activities, even though there isn’t much to work with at this time.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many sports have been pushed back as the NJCAA takes precautions. According to Finn, only four sports have been approved to compete this fall: men’s and women’s cross country, men’s golf, and women’s tennis. The other eight sports Moraine Valley offers have been pushed to spring. Their first day back won’t be until January.

The world has never seen a situation like this, and the pandemic is turning both players and coaches into guinea pigs.

For the time being, most athletes almost have to be their own coaches. Their actual coaches can only do so much without physically seeing the players, so it’s going to take a lot of discipline from these young adults to be ready once their seasons roll around.

Men’s golf and women’s tennis begin this week. Men’s and women’s cross country have their first meet Sept. 18 in Normal. For the full schedule, go to https://mvcyclones.com/sports/wten/composite.

Athletes have been instructed to “take advantage of the gym, do at home workouts, and if anything, try to keep in touch with the teammates,” according to MV soccer sophomore midfielder Gisselle Almazan. “As far as using the Moraine Valley practice field, we cannot,” she said.

Nobody in the student body could have prepared for times like this, so the coaches and athletes have no choice but to adjust. Everyone is anxious to play games again, but they can only work with what they’ve been given.

The hardest change for players? “Getting into a gym to workout in,” says sophomore MV basketball guard Christopher Harrison. “Our coaches do a good job of sending us different at-home workouts to improve our bodies during the pandemic.”

Even with 39 years of experience, nothing could have prepared Finn for a situation like this.

Photos by Ethan Holesha

This is an athletic director’s worst nightmare, but Finn has been working to put his coaches and players above all else.

“My thought process was I have to hustle to get these kids who committed to us their tuition waiver scholarships,” he said. “I had to print out two copies of each letter of intent, I’m signing them and dating them, I’m folding them, putting them in an envelope addressed to the student, then inside I’m putting a return envelope to me at my home with a stamp. That’s the only way I could’ve gotten those back in the fifteen day window, because I couldn’t meet them anywhere.”

Finn says the hardest part has been the communication with coaches and players as he works to stay in touch with his staff as well as around 200 athletes on a daily basis.

“Today we’re playing, the next day, boom, everything is shut down. So that was a horrendous amount of work, trying to communicate with everybody. Coaches at Moraine are not full-time people like at universities; they’re people who work part time at Moraine. They’re experts at what they do, but they’re only part-time employees.”

The seasons of most sports have changed tremendously. Whether it’s when they play, how many games they play, or whether the athletes are even going to be prepared when their seasons start.

“When the springtime comes, we are only allowed 40 regular season games,” said sophomore MV baseball pitcher/infielder/outfielder Christopher Villafuerte. “During the fall we have a lot more restrictions on practice space and time frames for each practice. In all, we are trying to limit interactions while still staying in shape for the season.”

The school year is filled with uncertainty for Finn and MV athletics. All they can do at this point is hope for the best.

“I hope we can offer everything, even on a limited basis,” Finn said. “We have four fall sports that are approved to compete as of today, but you know things change daily.”