OC Basketball Resumes With No Spectators
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about major changes to the way many things are operated in the United States, and sports are no exception. In March 2020, when all sports were stopped due to the pandemic, many were left wondering how sports would be able to return given all the social restrictions that were being placed. Since the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester, Olivet College (OC) has seen a return to sports, but with many regulations to avoid the spread of Covid-19 as much as possible.
While the teams are regularly tested and must be always wearing a mask, they also must play their games wit
h empty bleachers. As it can be assumed, playing in an empty gym can have an impact on the game and atmosphere of the gym. Most players express negative feelings toward playing without fans, as they have gotten used to spectators packing the bleachers their whole athletic careers.
“I strongly dislike having to play with no fans. It takes so much energy away from the game and completely changes the game as a whole,” said Ryan Robinette, Junior guard on the men’s basketball team.
Robinette is not the only one who sees a change in the game as a result of playing in an empty gym. Olivet’s men’s basketball coach, Sam Hargraves, also can feel a change in the games even though he is not participating in the same way.
“Certainly after big momentum changing type plays, we miss having the crowd reaction,” said Hargraves.
Men’s basketball forward Drew Weber also commented on this, stating, “Basketball is a game of runs, and it’s hard to get as much momentum on these runs when the building isn’t loud.”
The OC teams do try to make up for this lack of fan energy in the gym during their games in any way that they can, whether that be in bench activity of pregame warmups.
“My team makes up for (the lack of fan energy) by listening to music and getting excited and hype on our own,” said Taytum Myers, Senior guard on the women’s basketball team, “We warm up with laughs and aggressiveness, and we try to encourage each other to get pumped.”
The MIAA did, however, just make the decision to allow each individual school within the conference to determine their own spectator policies. OC does, however, still have yet to come to a conclusion on permitting any fans to attend games at the Cutler Center. For now, fans can watch games on the livestream at olivetcomets.com.
Photos by Alicia Bullaro