By Danielle Achin
Unlike FSU’s varsity teams, club sports, such as men’s lacrosse, will not play this spring because of COVID-19.
Junior CJ MacAskill and sophomore Blake Carlson said they feared the team would not be able to play with the warm weather approaching.
“I hadn’t played in five years when I started back up at Framingham,” Carlson said. “When I came here and found they had a club lacrosse team I thought, ‘Why not? Keeps me active.’”
Carlson is from Orlando, Florida, and has been playing lacrosse on and off since sixth grade.
MacAskill said, “I did play hockey and football in high school, but lacrosse was always the one that I always wanted to play and I looked forward to the season.”
Engaged in the sport his whole life, MacAskill decided to continue playing and joined the club team his freshman year.
Lacrosse uses sticks and skill to score goals requiring strength and resilience.
MacAskill plays goalie and is a defensemen while Carlson plays midfield as an attacker.
While the men did not foresee their season being canceled, they said they were not too disappointed not seeing the field this year.
Carlson said, “I wasn’t surprised by it at all. There was no part of me that expected a lacrosse season. If it happened, it was going to be a pleasant surprise.”
MacAskill said, “I’d be wrong if I said I wasn’t a little bummed, but in the back of my head I knew that it just wasn’t going to happen.”
The easy going atmosphere makes it easy for new players with or without experience to join. They stressed the importance of having fun with the sport and not letting their canceled season keep their spirits down.
“We’re just out there having fun, anyone can come and join,” Carlson said. “It’s a good time. I just like being out there, being active, and seeing all the guys. It’s a great environment and it’s a good hour and a half to get away from school.”
The men, along with many other student-athletes of FSU, conveyed their confusion about the decision made by the Athletic Department Administration and Head Director Thomas Kelley to allow certain teams – specifically varsity – to play.
Kelley said, “We lost last spring, we lost the fall, we lost winter. We’re not discriminating against anyone, despite one’s imagination.
“We’re under a lot of restrictions. We follow the NCAA guidelines. We follow the CDC regulations. We’re under the Council of Presidents and they have been on top of this thing.”
Kelley stressed the school stays away from high-risk sports with close contact as much as possible. He added resources factored into the decision of allowing varsity sports to compete.
“We are down to three trainers right now. They’re working harder than they’ve ever worked and we have 10 varsity teams trying to use the fields,” Kelley said. “We’re trying to give the spring athletes some sort of season because some of those students haven’t plates in 600 and something days.”
The administration has never taken situations like these lightly, Kelly said, calling it a “trying time.”
He agreed it’s difficult for club sport athletes to see varsity sport players walking down to the field for practice or game time.
Kelley said the University is trying to do everything as safely as possible. The more teams added to the mix, the less safe everyone is.
The University is under strict instruction to follow the safety procedures, and failure to meet the standards of the NCAA and the commonwealth of Massachusetts could jeopardize the path to normalcy.
“I feel for everybody that’s missed a season. It’s been a long, trying year from pretty much being shut down as an institution. We’re trying to bring it back,” Kelley said.
Despite their frustration, club sport athletes have accepted the harsh reality that their season has been canceled. However, they are hopeful they will take the field once again.
“Realistically, sometimes life isn’t going to go your way, so don’t pout about it. Sometimes you just gotta accept it when there’s not much you can do,” MacAskill said.
Kelley explained why varsity teams were tapped to play over club teams.
“The varsity sports students were recruited to come to Framingham State. They were sold a scenario where they would be a player, and it was part of the package when they signed up. When you take that away from them, they aren’t getting what they signed up for,” he said.
“It doesn’t make other sports any less important. It’s happening all over the country – it’s not just Framingham,” Kelley added. “We’re trying to do this the safest, fairest way we possibly can without jeopardizing anyone’s health.”
He and the administration are more than happy to meet with anyone with concerns or complaints about this season, adding his door is always open to clear anything up or if anyone needs to rant.
The men are hopeful to see a campus full of life in the fall and more than ready to get back on the field with the team.
MacAskill said, “I’m definitely looking to come back and make the program better than before. If I can leave it in a better position and get more new people to join the program, that’s the best I can hope for.”
Carson said, “Things are starting to look up. I’m excited to come back for next season. I’m just looking to have fun with it and stay active – that’s the most important part.”