On the evening of Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Ball State students received an email from President Geoff Mearns stating all in-person classes would be replaced with virtual instruction due to the widespread Coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19.
With Ball State Football’s annual spring game originally scheduled for this Saturday, Antonio Phillips, Gerald Smith and Bryce Cosby share how they have been adjusting — and persevering — through the COVID-19 crisis.
It is no secret, COVID-19 has disrupted everyone’s plans for the semester. But cornerback Antonio Phillips has not let that dim his perspective and work ethic.
“Crazy and Wild” were Phillips first thoughts when he heard Ball State would be switching to virtual classes.
“I felt like I needed to roll with the punches and do whatever I had to do to keep being productive and get things done.”
With facilities and gyms being shut down, Phillips has not let that stop him from training and preparing for the 2021 season.
He has been working out in his Muncie apartment with his current roommate and teammate Ray Wilburn.
The two have been keeping one another motivated by turning on music in the morning and working out like they would normally do before the pandemic began.
“I have to work out in my apartment and make use of my time,” Phillips said “Workouts include two, 30-pound dumbbells, Bulgarian squats and we try to duplicate the workouts we do in the weight room.”
The team and coaches have been doing a great job at keeping the chemistry they had when they were all together.
Whether it be FaceTime calls, group chats or Zoom meetings, they have all been doing their part to ensure everyone is staying motivated and in good spirits during this time.
“The coaches are doing the best that they can to work with the team,” Phillips said. “To find the good out of what they can during this time.”
Antonio Phillips message to athletes all around the world: “Keep working and keep grinding, we all had goals and aspirations before all of this. Once we get back, it’s up!”
With the state of Indiana on lockdown due to COVID-19, many students have been using this time to better themselves in various aspects of their lives.
Ball State cornerback Gerald Smith, has been utilizing his time by improving himself not only physically, but mentally.
“Personally, I feel like I have been growing closer to God,” Smith said. “I’ve been reading my bible, studying, working out and just really getting myself together overall.”
Like Phillips, Smith has been aiming to maintain his athleticism by doing at home workouts.
These workouts include running in grass and workouts using his body weight. He has even gotten creative by lifting bottles of laundry detergent and other kitchen items.
Smith has also been using this time to reach out to his loved ones.
“I feel like I have been able to really talk to my people and communicate with them a lot more than I normally do,” Smith said.
At a time like this it is only natural for one to increase their social media usage. However, Smith has been using his social media for motivational purposes.
A quote that has stuck out to him the most is: “When God pushes you to the edge, either you fall or he teaches you how to fly.”
Gerald Smith’s message to athletes all around the world: “If you want something bad enough you’ll get it done, there’s nothing to do right now so there’s nothing that should be stopping you from working towards your goals.”
When school is in session, it is often times very hard to connect with your loved ones and actually take time out for yourself.
But, with distant learning and the advisement from coaches to go home, Bryce Cosby has been able to do just that.
“This time has been beneficial for mental clarity and reevaluating what I want and where I want to be,” Cosby said. “During the school year it is hard because things move so fast, this is the perfect time to take everything in.”
Cosby is back in his hometown of Louisville, where he is able to spend quality time with his mom and loved ones, as well as enjoying the home-cooked meals he misses during the school year when he is away.
Although Cosby had to spend his 21st birthday in the house due to COVID-19, he has been trying to look at things in a positive light. There is one question that keeps him motivated during this time: “What would I be doing if I was in school right now?”
Cosby has been keeping up with his training schedule by working out daily. These workouts include footwork drills, abs, hill work in his backyard and various creative workouts that will help him excel and make his team proud.
“Team is like family,” Cosby said. “It is your diligence to have priorities in check and be the best you can be. Knowing what we have in our locker room and the goals we can accomplish keeps me motivated.”
Bryce Cosby’s message to athletes all around the world: “This too shall pass. When this passes over, how are you going to be when it’s time to report back to campus? There will be two groups when it’s all said and done, those who took advantage and those who didn’t.”