Hung Trieu, the coach of the Girls’ Varsity Tennis Team, stood smiling in a parking lot. He hit the tennis ball so high that it touched the sky. The tennis ball entered freefall at lightning speed but landed delicately on Trieu’s tennis racket. He smiled confidently and hit the ball to the side. The scene switched to the foot of a hill where Julia Barrow ’23 received the ball while performing a perfect side flip. She then hit it to the side; the tennis ball was passed between a few more people before landing on the racket of Lily Gray ’20, the team’s captain. She was skateboarding on a paved road next to her house, trying her best to maintain balance while juggling the ball. This is a video that the tennis team recently created with the members doing virtual tennis at home.
Sports teams at CA are finding creative ways to stay in touch with each other despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. The tennis team’s video is just one of the many virtual activities that the team has completed together. In addition to their weekly Zoom meetings, they also watched various US Open games and created workout routine videos for each other. Marina He ’20, said that she really enjoyed all the activities: “One thing I really like about the tennis team is the strong bond [between us]. To still be able to maintain that, in a slightly different but fun way, is something I’m really happy about and grateful for, especially considering that this is my last season.”
Girls tennis is not the only team that has kept its members engaged. The Girls Lacrosse team has also been having weekly meetings via Zoom to stay connected. Sometimes they call the entire team and watch and discuss college teams’ games. Sometimes they have meetings in smaller groups led by seniors, in which they asked interesting questions about each other. The coach also sent the girls workouts to do on their own. Hannah Wixom ’22 said, “I really enjoy [these meetings and activities] because I get to talk to people I wouldn’t normally talk to. It’s also a great way to keep the lacrosse season alive despite our current circumstances.” On the boys’ end, the baseball team has been staying in touch. During their weekly Zoom meetings, they watch funny baseball videos together, talk about various techniques, and play trivia. Aayushya Agarwal ’20 said passionately, “it’s a great way for team bonding and for [incorporating] sports into our asynchronous lives!”
In spite of the optimism of many, some students have expressed a certain degree of disappointment in not being able to play their sport outside. Sonny Tang ’22, a member of the co-ed ultimate frisbee team, expressed such feelings. Though the team has been having weekly Zoom meetings to watch game tapes from last year and did some Kahoot related to the sports, he still misses the actual field. When asked if he enjoys the activities, Sonny said, “It’s nice being able to see other classmates, but I would rather go back to school.” Though the new virtual experience of a sports team might be different from physically running on a field or court and training and competing in person with teammates, it represents our best attempt in recreating the sports experience at CA.