How the Pandemic has affected Athletes with Weston Freiling

This year has been very difficult for everyone, but one specific group of people who have had their world completely altered is student athletes. Countless changes have been made, and precautions have been taken to ensure that they can have somewhat of a normal season. I sat down with student athlete Weston Freiling to talk about how this season has affected him and his fellow athletes. 

Weston, being a three-sport athlete, has been heavily affected by the pandemic, considering he is playing sports year round. “It affected my career because overall I’ve had less time to practice, work out, and be on the field/court due to restrictions with COVID,” says Freiling. He went on to say that while this is not a “newfound appreciation” for the sports he plays, he definitely cherishes the time he has because of how limited it is now. Weston is a junior, so he knows his high school athletic career is coming to an end soon and wants to make the most of the time he has left.  

There have been many changes made to athletics so that they can operate safely. “The biggest difference was definitely the amount of time we had to practice and play,” said Freiling when asked about the biggest difference this year. “Our season was shortened, our practices were sometimes limited, and we didn’t have as much flexibility to put in extra work outside of practice time.” It has obviously been a huge shift for Weston and his fellow athletes.

Due to the changes made in athletics, multiple seasons have overlapped, making it difficult for multi-sport athletes who have back to back seasons. I asked Weston if it was hard coming directly from the basketball season to the soccer season with no break: “The hardest thing was the fact that I was rusty from simply not having touched a soccer ball for close to two months. It was inconvenient joining almost halfway through the season.” This was a common struggle for other athletes in similar situations. However, he worked hard to catch up and got back into the groove of playing. 

Aside from the pandemic, the Apex community has endured another hardship this year. The passing of Coach Todd has devastated everyone but especially those who knew him best: his soccer players. Freiling had to make the tough decision between playing lacrosse and soccer with both sports sharing a season for the first time. When I asked what influenced the choice of soccer over lacrosse, he said, “I felt I had an obligation to be there for my brothers.For Coach Todd to pass was just heartbreaking for all of us.” He then went on to explain the impact Coach Todd had on him and the soccer team as a whole this season, “Coach Todd influenced us all because we now realize we are playing for something much bigger than just ourselves.We are doing everything for him because we know he’d expect nothing less and want us to continue to work our hardest.” The legacy of Coach Todd is seen throughout the whole school but especially the athletes like Weston, who after one of the hardest years, want to do the best they can for Coach and for Apex.

This year has been tough. Quarantine, delayed seasons, and then the passing of Coach Todd all contributed to the hardships athletes had to face this season. “Coach Todd had an enormous impact on the Apex community. We are playing for everything he stood for and valued,” said Freiling. Despite everything, he and his fellow athletes are doing what they love and are working their hardest to make Apex proud. If this year and our athletes can teach us anything, it’s to cherish the people in our lives and the ability to do what we love.

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