I like to tell people that I’m an early riser, though I’m not completely sure whether true early risers use an obnoxiously loud alarm in the mornings. What I can safely say is that my waking time is earlier than that of many during summer break, and the only reason is swim practice. Swimming has always been a large part of my life, and I take the measures I need to improve my times in the pool, one of which is regular exercise. Late this August, I get an email from the school about a program they’re holding for willing athletes. I fill out the forms, prove that I’m still alive and kicking, and on the scheduled day I roll into the baseball field with a water bottle and a mask, not to mention my characteristic chlorine stench.
Welcome to the St. Albans Weekly Summer Workouts.
When the reaches of the coronavirus pandemic touched the area of Washington, DC, and fulfilled the premonitions of many, schools across DC, Maryland, and Virginia were forced to close, either switching to an online format or remaining dormant until governments deemed safe a face-to-face education once more. Aside from the obvious effect this closure had on academics, one factor that left a gaping hole in the minds of students and faculty alike at the National Cathedral School (NCS) and St. Albans School (STA) was athletics. In a generic context, sports keeps us healthy and happy. It gives us a reason to do our very best, to go outside and enjoy ourselves, and connect with friends in a way that probably wouldn’t be possible in a classroom.
“All the administrators were behind creating this program,” commented Head Football Coach Gary Schnell, who is spearheading this effort, along with Head Athletic Trainer Mr. Matthew Virtue and Head Hockey Coach Dan Ryan among others. Thirty students are allowed to participate in each session, with the 7-8:15 AM sessions averaging an attendance of seven to nine and the later 9:00-10:15 sessions sporting an average of 25. When asked why only 30 students, Coach Schnell responded with a short explanation of the importance of social distancing during this critical time, summing it all up in, “If you all social distance and make the right choices, that will be our best chance at having a worthwhile season and competition”. According to Schnell, St. Albans will be doing sports-specific drills in baseball, crew, cross country, golf, lacrosse, and Voyageur (climbing) for the first half of the fall, with football, soccer, track and field, and tennis for the second half of fall, ending right before Thanksgiving break. Both periods will last about five weeks.
With the reopening of STA, the “Summer” title is no longer appropriate, but the efforts being put behind the workouts and athletics session by the coaches have not decreased. Whether you’ve had the chance of getting on the track, hitting a few balls, jumping in the pool, or just sitting at home, we should all be grateful for the untiring energy that has gone behind the formulation of this plan.
STAy safe, STAy healthy, and keep your athletic dreams CLOSE to you!