Life as a student athlete during the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic

Junior women’s golfer Sarah Frazier has had a roller coaster journey since finding out the remainder of the 2020 spring season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Sarah Frazier, Flyer News.

Sarah Frazier
Contributing Writer

Life as a student-athlete this past year has been challenging and heart-breaking due to COVID-19. 

I remember receiving a text from my coach after our golf first tournament in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, last March of 2020 telling my team that the remainder of our season was cancelled due to the pandemic.  My team and I were devastated because we felt like everything we worked toward was being taken away from us.  It was hard, especially for the seniors on the team, because it was unknown when or if we would step on the golf course together again. 

After finding out the news that our season was cancelled and being sent home for virtual learning, I felt extremely unmotivated.  I remember thinking about going to practice and then questioning to myself, “what is the point?”.  I found myself in a daze just simply going through the motions, waiting for a text from my coach hoping for good news that we could return to campus to finish our season.  Unfortunately, the text never came. It felt like a nightmare. 

Hopeful for a fall 2020 season, however, I regained motivation and started to train again during the summer. I tried to make the best of the situation and decided to train my hardest, both in the weight room and on the golf course. My goal was to be ready when the new season rolled around, confident the work would pay off, and I would be a better player and would have the best season of my life. I spent every moment I could at the golf course working on my swing, completing drills and playing a lot of holes. I found myself playing the best golf that I ever had in my life. I felt strong and confident. 

Then, the next gut-wrenching news came via text toward the end of the summer of 2020. In the text, my coach told us that our fall season officially was cancelled. I got the text when I was warming up for a local summer tournament in my hometown. Immediately tears come to my eyes. I just thought to myself, “Why? Why was everything I had worked so hard for being taken away from both my teammates and me?”. 

I put all of my frustration and sadness into my final competitive tournament round of 2020 that day and ended up winning the tournament. I told myself that I was not going to give up despite the many adversities that were coming my way. 

I continued training, hopeful for the university’s decision to cancel all fall sports to be overturned, but sadly, this did not happen. I trained hard my whole fall 2020 season like I would any season, along with my team, and continued to get stronger and better. 

A semester without competitive golf at UD was very different. I found myself with a lot of available free time. I took advantage of this opportunity and spent more time with my friends outside of golf and had additional time to dedicate toward my studies. I found it a lot easier to do well in school with the new-found available time. I enjoyed having ample time to do my schoolwork and study, but I missed the hectic schedule that a normal competitive golf season demands.

After the fall 2020 semester when I was at home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, over winter break, I finally got very exciting news! My coach sent my team and I an email telling us that our spring 2021 season looked promising and sent us a tentative competition schedule. My team and I were ecstatic. We have four seniors on our team this year, so they are relieved to learn they will have one more go at representing the University of Dayton as Flyer golfers before they graduate. 

Ever since we have returned to school, the team has been working hard. We are remaining hopeful to have a season this year. Even though things will be different with traveling and training, it will all be worth any sacrifice to get the opportunity to put on our blue and red uniforms to represent UD again.