Lions carry on virtually despite athletic season cancellations

Marina Kazarian and Hannah Katzke

Despite the Ivy Preparatory School League’s decision to cancel spring sports for the season, the Lions are still working hard to prepare for seasons to come. Teams continue to have virtual meetings to exercise and work on team bonding.
Robbie Werdiger (12) said that the Boys Varsity Tennis team is holding Zoom meetings twice a week. One 45-minute session is dedicated to doing physical activity, while the other is yet to be determined. The second session will most likely be team bonding, analysis of tennis videos, or discussions about mental aspects of the sport, he said.
The Girls Lacrosse team – which did not get a chance to split into separate varsity and junior varsity teams – has also been working hard at home through high-intensity interval training workouts designed by their coaches, as well as participating in Zoom calls twice a week, Maya Westra (9) said.
The three meetings that the lacrosse team has had so far have been team bonding meetings, but the idea is that some meetings will incorporate workouts, Leyli Granmayeh (11) said.
Members of the Varsity Crew team work out twice a week on the Nike Training app, Rachel Baez (9) said.
Meetings that involve physical exercise are especially helpful, Werdiger said. “A lot of us are sitting at home all day not really doing anything, so it’s nice to get in a workout, and this gives us extra motivation and purpose when doing the workout.”
Granmayeh said she enjoys the team aspect being brought into the Zoom calls. The Girls Lacrosse team has been dedicating practices to strengthen the group dynamic; these practices feature games that seniors come up with, such as a Lions version of Never Have I Ever, and breakout rooms that group students together randomly, Granmayeh said.
Werdiger said that he appreciates the team atmosphere the meetings provide. Team bonding meetings are particularly beneficial for solidifying connections between the members that will be on the team again next year, he said.
As for the seniors, Werdiger said that he is disappointed that he could not carry his team to victory for one final year. “The highlight of my high school experience was playing alongside such a great group of boys who exemplify what it means to be a student-athlete,” he said. “We’ve accomplished unprecedented feats in the program, winning two Ivy League titles in three years and going 29-1 in league play over that course. I was looking forward to leading the team and leaving it all out on the court one last time, but unfortunately, our last match is behind us.”
Werdiger also said that he also feels that they could have avenged their loss in the Ivy Finals last year.
Granmayeh said that the lacrosse team has a strong group of seniors this year that could have brought the team more victories.
Nevertheless, seniors are still partaking in leadership roles during meetings, Granmayeh said. They organize the team’s online activities and act as captains, she said.
With online meetings come several downsides as well. The crew team, for instance, no longer has erg machines to practice rowing like they normally would, Baez said.
Similarly, it is hard to play lacrosse at home with limited space, Granmayeh said.
Some students, however, have found solutions to this problem. “I got stuck in Miami over the break and was fortunate to have the chance to play most days,” Werdiger said. “Now that I am back in New York, I have gone upstate where I have been practicing on a private court. Tennis has kept me in good shape and provided a mental escape from all the chaos in the world.”
Another issue is the abundance of people in the meetings. Since the lacrosse team did not get a chance to split into a junior varsity and a varsity team, all of the members show up to the meetings. “I remember the first day or two when we had practice, we were just going around and saying how we were and what we were doing for our quarantine, and with each person talking for only a minute, it took almost an hour,” Granmayeh said.
Baez said the decision to cancel the season decreases the amount of physical activity she is doing since she is limited to workouts that don’t include the rowing machine.
Some teams aim to organize different competitions and activities to give athletes something to work towards. For example, the lacrosse team has discussed organizing a push-up competition with other teams in the Ivy League, Granmayeh said.