The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the majority of athletic activity to a halt with the cancellation of seasons and practices and the shift to virtual learning for our student-athletes. The versatility and resiliency that the members of the maroon and white have demonstrated through the past eight months does not end at their continued dedication to their sport of choice or their success in the classroom, but extends to the impact they have in the local community.
Community service is deeply rooted into the mission of both Molloy Athletics as well as NCAA Division II, and in the face of a global pandemic, Molloy College’s athletic programs have continued to make a difference and serve community around them, finding different ways to engage in annual traditions while emphasizing the safety of all involved.
For the women’s bowling team, the annual Spooky Fest at Tanglewood Preserve has been a way to tap into the holiday spirit of Halloween while helping the local Rockville Centre Community. This year, members of the team were on hand to help keep up with cleaning and sanitizing to ensure the visitors were able to experience the walk safely while also participating in costume along the walk.
“Things are hard right now, so it was important for us to attend Spooky Fest to help families enjoy the Halloween season in a safe and fun way,” explained senior Mackenzie Wagner. “Although it looked a little different this year, I’m glad we were able to still help at this event.”
Both Molloy’s men’s soccer and softball teams were matched with a child through Team IMPACT last academic year. Due to the pandemic, neither Penelope (softball) or Ashton (men’s soccer) were able to attend games as planned to help foster that relationship of being a part of the team. Student-athletes were challenged with new ways to connect with their teammate, including participating in a virtual 5K run and finding ways to engage through social media and video chatting.
“We have remained in contact with Ashton and his family and cannot wait for the day he is back out on the field kicking the ball around with us again,” said Head Men’s Soccer Coach Tyler Botte. “It is critical during this time to let Ashton know we are thinking of him. He recently crushed his Molloy Lions photoshoot and is now a part of the active roster on the website.”
The men’s basketball team annually holds a number of charitable drives and community service initiatives, including organizing coat, food, and toy drives each year. With the season delayed until 2021, it was still important for the program to continue those traditions.
“By leading through service in our community, it reminds us of the important role we have to help others and give back to people who have a greater need,” explained Head Men’s Basketball Coach Charles Marquardt. “Staying humble and connecting through caring are important life skills that our team sees as non-negotiable.”
For Thanksgiving, the team donated five boxes of food to St. Francis de Chantal Church in Wantagh. The program is also continuing its annual toy drive, accepting donations though December 17 that will benefit the John Theissen Foundation.
Many of Molloy’s athletic programs participate in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Jones Beach, helping to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer each October. Although the pandemic canceled the event, it was still important for the women’s lacrosse program to support the cause and continue the tradition. The team raised $500 for the organization, but also remained committed to walking in support of those affected.
“The breast cancer walk has always been such an important event that the team has participated in, and in light of everything that has been going on, our team dedicated part of our practice to do the walk and wear pink to honor those who have lost their battle, overcame their battle, and to those who are continuing to fight their battle against breast cancer,” stated senior Kaitlyn Meyer. “Giving back to the community is and always will be such an important part of being a Molloy Lion.”