Coaches Discuss Pandemic Effects on Sports and Athletes

Amidst delayed seasons, Coach Cohen and Coach Rooney still root for their students from the virtual sidelines.

Denilson Nolasco and Queiri Rubi

Members of the newspaper club interviewed two Brentwood coaches to discuss their perspectives as coaches during a pandemicMiss Cohen, swim coach, gives insights about how her sport might change. Mr. Rooney, tennis coach, explains how student athletes can cope with their interrupted seasons. 

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Coach Cohen 

Miss Cohen has been the swim coach for the Girls Varsity Swim Team for more than two years. She is also a Spanish teacher at Brentwood High School. 

Q: What outcome do you anticipate for your athletes once the pandemic ends? 

 A: Hopefully, we will be able to return to the pool and practice as usual. However, it will be a challenge because they have been out of the water for so long that it will require hard work, and dedication from my athletes in order for them to get back in shape. It will require dedication, but it will also be a blessing to be able to be with my all of my athletes again. 

Q: How do you anticipate this year will go for swim? 

A: Well so far, we’re already into December. Our normal season for varsity starts at the end of August. We’re usually in the pool and outside in the track field to train before school startsAs you know, that didn’t happen this year. Swim is a fall sport and we’re currently in the winter.  

The intramural window opened, but three days later it was closeddue to the rising cases. We’re hopeful that we will still have some sort of small season.  Since we’re a fall sport, we were supposed to go second into the rotation. Which means, we hope to start around March. We are currently still waiting for final confirmation. 

Q: Do you know what rules of Swim that will be adjusted?

A: No, not yet. I’m certain that there will be a lot of changes in the future. I’m sure that there will be necessary adjustments, such as the number of people who can be in a lane at a certain time, the distance they have to be swimming apart from one another, how many athletes can be on the deck at the same time, etc. They also created a mask that has the ability to swim with it. I have not tried it myself, so I cannot comment on how effective it is. But I’m certain there will be modifications once we are given the green light to go. 

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Coach Rooney  

Mr. Rooney has been teaching at Brentwood High School for 21 years as a social studies teacher and coaching the Girls Varsity Tennis team for 16 years.  

Q: If COVID-19 didn’t happen what would you be doing at the moment? Does it involve anything athletic? 

A: Without Covid, the tennis team would have already had our season. We were the two-time defending league champions, and had a great group coming back!  

Q: How will you anticipate this year will go for tennis?

A: As far as how the year will go (in terms of coaching or sports), I’m not very sure that we will even have a season. Tennis is scheduled to start up during the first week of March. Without a widespread vaccine in place by that point and at the current rate of spread/infection, I’m  not sure that we’ll even have a season! I hope we can, but I also understand that safety is the number one goal. 

Q: From a coach’s perspective what advice can you give an athlete struggling to get up from the couch? Have you found yourself in the same situation? 

A: I would tell them to “get off the couch!” Just because sports are not being played in school doesn’t mean that you need to sit around and do nothing. Even if you can’t play tennis, you can get out for a run or walk, or just stay inside your house and get a workout using TV or online programs. It doesn’t really take that much if you want it.

I’ve done the best that I could to motivate myself to exercise. I have little kids at home, so we’ve tried to get them outside doing things as much as possible. Riding bikes and going on hikes all keep us somewhat active at least. 

In spite of the changes, both coaches remain hopeful that their students will have some kind of season this school year. What that will look like, and how long each season will be, remains to be seen.