Exeter athletes persevere in an altered sports landscape.

November 2, 2020
Exeter student with a rack of training weights.

To understand how Exeter athletics is adapting to life in a pandemic and the restrictions it has wrought, one needn’t look further than the Academy tennis courts on a September afternoon.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays this fall, the courts are the site of a Big Red sports gumbo: basketball here, volleyball and water polo there — and, yes, tennis, too. The unlikely menagerie is evidence of perseverance and creativity in an altered landscape that has canceled interscholastic competition but not our student-athletes’ passion for playing.

Most training has been taken outdoors to limit interaction in enclosed spaces. Many winter and spring sports have been added to the fall practice schedule to give athletes from those seasons the opportunity to connect and decompress in between online classes. Strength and conditioning activities and the foundational benefits of exercise have been emphasized in the absence of games. And the camaraderie of being part of a team remains a constant, even without an Exeter/Andover fall weekend for the first time since 1896.

There will be no wins and losses on the field this fall, but Big Red has proven to be a winner, nonetheless.