What It’s Like to Play Lacrosse in a Pandemic: Furman Women’s Lacrosse Spotlight
Furman Women's Lacrosse gives the scoop on playing in a pandemic and discusses their Purple vs. White scrimmage.
The Furman women’s lacrosse team has experienced an interesting rollercoaster ride since March of 2020 when their season suddenly ended due to COVID-19. Not only has the team not played an intercollegiate game since then, but they saw their male counterpart (Furman Men’s Lacrosse) program cut and still have many remaining unknowns about the spring season ahead. A traditional spring season would have lasted until April or May with offseason workouts on and off campus during the summer sessions. However, this past summer the players did not have that opportunity and spent the summer training from home.
The announcement to cut half of Furman’s lacrosse lifeblood surprised everyone, including the women’s lacrosse team, who were not informed of the decision in advance. Hannah Nodar, a junior midfielder on the team, said, “it was really crazy because we didn’t know if we still had a team and the boys were like our best friends, our schedules were similar, and we spent a lot of time around them.” When these changes were announced there was some panic and confusion all around, but the team set these feelings aside to begin practice as they returned to campus. The focus is now on what will be different when play resumes for the team.
The most noticeable change will be the masks worn by players while playing the game. To the team, wearing a mask has become second nature, but it is not without difficulties. Nodar explains, “we are taught, when we are growing up, to watch the referee’s mouth on 18-meter shots to see when they are going to blow the whistle.” However, since referees will also be wearing masks and using a button to make a whistle sound rather than blowing a whistle, that technique will no longer be possible. Similarly, there have been other complaints from players that it is difficult to maintain breathing techniques with a mask on. The team has fortunately been able to practice with the new COVID-safe equipment during this offseason. Further changes to the lacrosse field include enforcing social distancing protocols, with proper field spacing and new drills to allow for proper group sizes.
Finally, the other big change this offseason is the lack of exhibition games and scrimmages against other schools. All of these obstacles can make it hard on the team as the “fall scrimmages provide a game structure environment, and these scrimmages are especially important after such a long time off from games” Nodar says. However, Furman Women’s Lacrosse was able to return to the field in Furman’s “Purple and White Week,” providing that much needed competitive feel for the players and coaches. The team played three intra-squad scrimmages: Oct. 17, 21, and 26. Players Lauren Farber and Ellie Roser elaborated on the scrimmages with some post-game comments: “Everyone had so much fun and we are excited to be out here [playing] again…everyone was playing hard; we can’t wait for more.”
The women’s lacrosse team at Furman has experienced many uncertainties this offseason, but spirits are high as the series of purple/white exhibitions begin, providing some semblance of normalcy before the season starts. The practices look a little different, the time off the field looks different and the players look a little different with their masks on, but the one thing that remains the same is that when the whistle blows, the Furman women’s lacrosse team will just be happy to be playing lacrosse.