By Daniela Ramirez
Athletes at Riverside City College had to completely end their on-campus lives when the pandemic hit, including team practices, meetings and the bonds they had forged with their teammates.
Some returned to their hometowns, which meant staying in mental and physical shape on their own.
Kathon Crawford, a sophomore shooting guard on the men’s basketball team, has been training since the start of the quarantine.
“The distractions and comfort that came with the returning to my hometown of Bakersfield were a challenge at first,” Crawford said.
His solution was to have a set routine and keep the motivation he had as if he was still on the court in Riverside. The motivation to keep training as hard as he did at RCC, Crawford explained, has gotten stronger. The motivation to keep up with his workouts and become a better player even if no one is watching is what keeps him going, he added.
Crawford’s daily workout schedule is more important than ever. He wakes up early, before the start of his Zoom classes, for weight training and a cardio workout that consists of running. In the middle of his day, he watches film and NBA games to improve his basketball IQ. A final workout toward the end of his day includes ball handling and defensive skills training to help him develop as a guard.
Crawford aims to become the strongest player he has ever been in the next few months. Although his training is benefiting him, he admitted he misses the practices and said the bond he had with his team is irreplaceable.
“Basketball is a team sport,” Crawford said. “Having a stronger team makes the team.”
Crawford’s teammate, Keylin Vance, also a sophomore shooting guard, is from Portland, Oregon. Vance also explained that the bond with the team and coaches made him better on and off the court. The biggest challenge for Vance is staying consistent and motivated to continue no matter the outcomes.
“What motivates me is my family, first off, and believing in myself to make it out of my city,” Vance said.
The California Community College Athletics Association announced a contingency plan July 9 for the 2020-21 academic year that moves all sports to the spring semester. Crawford and Vance are hopeful for the upcoming season.
Crawford’s main goal is to “win games and set an example to everyone that nothing can set their team back.” Vance hopes for the team “to win the Conference Championship and hold a state title, just as the team was before the pandemic hit.”
With the world being placed on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, the college athletes hope to be given the chance to show their skills for recruits from other programs to continue their basketball careers.
“I want to be able to show my game,” Vance said.
Self-motivation is at it’s all time high for athletes in 2020.