By Jermarcus Perkins
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- Every student has been affected by the pandemic in similar and different ways. I recently spoke with LU freshman football player Blake Oakley (Warren County, Mo.) about how it has changed his life.
The Clarion: How has the pandemic affected your life? What is it teaching you now?
Oakley: So I think the biggest thing is so much stuff has changed like school and just going out in general. There’s a lot of stuff we’re doing now that obviously we weren’t doing a year ago. So things like online classes, Zoom meetings, and only having a limited number of people in a class has been something to get used to. Also, with everyday stuff – like wearing a mask to go to Walmart – is something that’s never really happened before, especially as a freshman coming to a new school and playing a sport. So, both the academic and athletic side has affected me.
The Clarion: How has the pandemic affected you as an athlete regarding your ability to practice and workout?
Oakley: With practice we are probably behind more than we would like to be. In a normal year we’d be playing games right now, but we can’t. Social distancing and wearing masks in places like the weight room isn’t exactly pleasant, but all of us want to practice and play, so we can get through it. It definitely makes me think about what I do and where I go because if I were to get COVID and give it to my teammates we would potentially be shut down for quite a while.
The Clarion: What were your expectations going into the school year?
Oakley: My expectations were that I have to have the mindset we’re playing. I went in knowing I had to get work done and to control what I can control. I knew I needed to personally get better and that’s what I set my mind to. For a while, we were expected to play but I wasn’t surprised when they ended up canceling the fall season. Hopefully we will be back and play in the spring.
The Clarion: Who has motivated you the most on the football team?
Oakley: I don’t think I can even just pick one person that has motivated me the most. I think all of the specialists have motivated me the most. They’re all really hard workers and they are always trying to make themselves better. So when I first came in I was struggling with consistency and all of them did what they could to help me in getting more consistent. Sometimes it’s as simple as them saying “hey did you get your homework done?” because they want to see their teammates succeed. I think everyone on the team and coaching staff is great. It really feels like a family.