From 6:30 a.m. conditioning whistles to the mid-day pitch pounding the catchers mitt, the sounds at the University of Rhode Island’s athletic complex have been missing this spring season.
With the coronavirus pandemic canceling athletics and sending students home, student-athletes at URI have had to get creative to keep their minds and bodies in pristine condition.
“I actually built my own net,” said URI women’s soccer captain Brooke Osmanski.
The former North Kingstown Skipper turned her backyard into a makeshift pitch to make sure she could get the necessary work in. The only things missing were her teammates.
“You have to push yourself to be the best, the only difference is that you’re alone,” Osmanski said.
Bo Brutti remembers the day his season ended like it was yesterday. The URI baseball team was heading to play a weekend series at Delaware.
“In one bus ride it went from no weekend series to no season at all,” Brutti said.
The Rhody right-hander had full intentions of laying it all on the line this season.
“I wanted to be impactful for this team starting, relief, or closing – I can do whatever the team needs,” Brutti said.
Brutti just like Osmanski turned his home in South Kingstown into his new playpen for the next few months
“The typical day is eat breakfast, go outside and throw, then hit the basement for a lift,” he said.
As a Rhode Island Football player myself, a spring that should have been filled with early morning practices suddenly became filled with ZOOM meetings to talk about schemes and trips to my old stomping grounds at Curtis Corner Middle School to work on technique.
Carrie Ellis, a rising sophomore for URI women’s soccer felt that the most important piece of training is keeping a regular schedule.
“The schedule is even more important because it’s so easy to become unmotivated especially during the time of the unknown,” she said.
Once classes ended for the semester Ellis decided to take the cash route this summer until she anticipates being back on campus.
“I’ve been babysitting every morning which helps me still in the summer keep a structured schedule,” Ellis said
“I honestly just do Door Dash all night around dinner time until I get hungry,” said Brutti, who has taken advantage of the food delivery game in order to make some cash.
Osmanski also has been in the working world, taking the summer to be an intern at a local physical therapy office.
For myself, I have been working as a trash man at Narragansett Rubbish Removal, which I feel has kept me mentally ready for a return for football. You have to bring your hard hat ready to work every day. Just like my opponents on the field, trash doesn’t take a day off.
Rhode Island football is planning to return on July 24 with all intentions of playing a full season.
Rhode Island women’s soccer has a return date of Aug. 4 but is facing some alterations. Osmanski said, “We were supposed to play four teams and stay 14 days in the Carolinas in mid-August but that has since gotten cancelled”.
Osmanski, who is coming up on her first season since suffering a knee injury in mid 2018, also likes to take time to relax in the Ocean State.
“You can find me boating and just enjoying all the time we have before soccer starts back up again,” she said.
Ellis has been keeping her relaxation in doors for the most part.
“Early in quarantine I started baking and delivering all the baked goods to my friends and family,” she said. “It keeps me busy and puts a smile on people’s faces.”
Brutti and the baseball squad will return on the same date as regular students and soon after will start their fall training season.
Just because there were no early morning whistles or the playing of America’s pasttime on URI’s campus this spring doesn’t mean that they are gone. Maybe it’s a message telling us as fans,coaches, and athletes to take a moment to appreciate what it means to be part of the University of Rhode Island athletic community.