F&M Sports at Home: The Sophomore Student-Athlete Experience

By Jamie Belfer || Sports Editor

Overcoming adversity is certainly a theme of 2020 and one which reigns true especially for the sophomore class at F&M, who are taking classes remotely this fall semester.  While sophomore student-athletes are spending time with their actual families, they are looking forward to being back with their chosen families: their sports teams.  While balancing academics, athletics, work, and other interests, sophomores Lainie Anderson, Dante Wilson, Grace Miske, Jensen Macaulay, and Francesca “Frankie” Testa are all working to take things one day at a time to get through with resiliency, optimism, and patience. 

Lainie Anderson, a PA native from Mechanicsburg and an outside back on the F&M women’s soccer team, is staying involved with soccer in more ways than one. Lainie stays  “accountable for getting in [her] touches and keeping [her] fitness level up” by practicing soccer with her former club team and coach. In addition to practice, she has had the chance to coach 6 and 7-year-olds in soccer this fall. While she does miss spending time with her teammates on campus, Lainie has stayed connected with them through much-appreciated letters, friendship bracelets, and text messages. When she’s not practicing soccer or doing schoolwork, Lainie enjoys hiking and spending time with her friends and family. Being at home has definitely been an adjustment for Lainie. Since she spends most of her time working in her basement or room, she definitely misses “getting breaks while walking from class to class or interacting with friends” at meals. While she does appreciate the little things at home such as the home-cooked meals, Lainie is most looking forward to seeing her friends and playing with her teammates, and of course, grabbing post-practice chocolate milk.

Dante Wilson, a hard-working running back on the F&M football team, is adjusting to living at home in Brooklyn, New York. After going to boarding school for four years of high school and then transitioning to F&M, Dante is used to living on campus. However, he very much enjoys spending time with his family at home. To stay connected with his team, Dante uses Snapchat and Instagram to chat with his friends at F&M. He also appreciates his coaches who reach out from time to time to check-in. Dante stays in touch with the game of football by doing team workouts. To get in some extra exercise, Dante enjoys bike riding and hiking. Upon his return, he is most looking forward to grabbing a bite to eat at College Center or LSP and being back with the team. He especially misses listening to “different playlists during practice and in the weight room” and hearing his teammates’ “different styles of music each day.” He is excited to be back on campus, and whatever the season may be, he is looking forward to the football season resuming and getting to work out and play with his teammates while jamming to some tunes. Outside of football, Dante enjoys playing video games, collecting cologne, and checking out new sneakers. 

Grace Miske, a member of the cross country and track teams, works hard to juggle school, work, and running during her time at home. Being at home has definitely been an adjustment for Grace, as she is one of five children and therefore is very much looking forward to having access to the quiet of a library when she gets back to F&M. Although being at home can be “chaotic,” Grace appreciates having a strong support system throughout the semester.  To stay connected, she Facetimes and has casual weekly Zooms with her teammates. Additionally, the whole team uses an app called Strava, where everyone can see one another’s runs. Grace states that her “solo training for most of 2020 has really challenged [her] mental toughness” and that she is especially looking forward to running with her teammates in person again. She has come to appreciate and learn how much she loves her teammates and relies on them to grow and improve. Grace admits that it can feel “super hectic and kind of lonely at home because it is just me.” However, she works to treat herself with kindness and take things “day by day and do as much as [she] can without beating [herself] up about anything if things don’t go as planned,” as it is a very unique and crazy time. 

Jensen Macaulay, a gazelle-like devoted outfielder on the F&M softball team is looking forward to coming back to campus and being with her team. Jensen admits that it has been “weird” not being with her friends and teammates at school, as they have become such a huge part of her life. She especially misses going to the library to study with friends since at home, she’s found that one of the biggest challenges is separating schoolwork from leisure time, as she uses her room as both a place to do homework and a place to relax. Aside from going on walks and hikes with her dog, Jensen has stayed active during this time by practicing on a local field with her dad, going to her old club team’s practices, and working to get stronger at the gym.  Jensen stays in touch with her teammates through Facetime and Snapchat in addition to a wonderful video messaging app called Marco Polo. Jensen hopes the spring season can be “as normal as possible.” Because her first collegiate season was cut short last spring, she would be “extremely grateful and excited” to simply be back at school for a full season and have the “opportunity to practice and play other teams.”

Francesca “Frankie” Testa, a very wise and dedicated shortstop on the F&M softball team, is looking forward to being back on campus. Although she misses campus life, Francesca views being at home as “time I would have never gotten with my family.”  Although Francesca had to adjust to studying at home with her three other siblings who are also studying remotely, she appreciates the time she can spend with them. Francesca stays connected to her teammates by using the Marco Polo app and Facetime. She is also a part of the softball team’s Activities Committee, which works to put on events where she and her teammates can connect throughout the fall. Francesca keeps up with her sport by practicing outside either by herself or with her brothers; however, she definitely misses being a part of the team setting. Describing herself like a “fly on the wall,” Francesca also misses being a part of team gatherings and getting to listen to all the “chaotic” banter and chime in when she wants. Although the season is uncertain, Frankie states, “the only thing I can control is my attitude about it; either way, I am excited to be on the field and playing softball with my teammates.” In her free time, Francesca enjoys making DIY projects and drawing and painting beautiful pieces of art.

All five of these athletes have dealt with adversity and have worked to balance school, their sport, and other interests in a very stressful and crazy time. They have all had to adjust and overcome different challenges to try and establish a routine at home. They are most definitely excited to return to campus and see their teammates, and their teammates will be incredibly excited to see them.

Jamie Belfer is the Sports Editor. Her email is jbelfer@fandm.edu.

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