Covering Corona: Athletics and Media

photographer with camera

It has been one year since the United States entered a state of emergency in the face of the Coronavirus, and it is apparent that in today’s world that Covid-19 has heavily impacted the day to day lives of people all across the world. In this series, we will take a look into just what has changed, and how it affects our lives today.

One of the most substantial changes facing DSU today is how our school handles sports and athletics. At the very beginning of lockdown several games were postponed, or even cancelled in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. However, this would not be the end of college sports as several safety measures have been put in place to allow for a safe competitive environment across the schools.

To get a look into the world of DSU sports, I interviewed Madison Whitcomb, track member and media specialist assistant, who was happy to give a glimpse into the safety precautions being taken by the athletics departments to ensure the safety of their teams.

One of the largest changes, according to Whitcomb, is that activities, such as track, no longer allow for live spectators at events, while other sports only allow for limited seating to those who wish to attend. While that is the most apparent change involving athletics, one not so easily seen involves the broadcasting and photography behind it all.

Much of the promotional material is photographed and edited by Whitcomb and other photographers. However, with new safety practices in place, photographers must remain six feet away from the athletes they are working with. Another restriction is the number of photographers allowed to attend events, with only two allowed to attend at a time. “This leads to competition between the photographers, who are looking to expand their personal portfolios.” Whitcomb said, referring to how her colleagues have to push for a spot at different activities where once there were many opportunities. Despite the lack of up-close attention from the photographer, there have been strategies to make the pictures just as active as they would have been in a normal shoot before the safety procedures. Through different low-light shoots and dynamic poses, the athletic photographers are able to give the illusion of action.

While there is difficulty in physical athletics, Covid-19 has provided an opportunity for the DSU Esports teams to grow. While many still practice social distancing and disinfecting of computers before and after use, the virtual events remain largely unaffected by the many problems facing other sports teams. Esports teams do not have to worry about different restrictions from schools out of state, who may follow different guidelines than DSU, as they compete against one another in online competitive videogames.

As vaccines begin to be distributed across the state, and safety measures start being laxed, it is expected that sports will return to normal. Slowly, more in person attendees will return and eventually begin filling stadiums once again, allowing for the high spirits to return to the fields. I believe the crowds will come back with a new sense of pride for their schools and the first games at the end of the pandemic will be a wild one, and I hope to see everyone there supporting our Trojan Athletes.