Covid-19 Proves to be Toughest Opponent for Football Senior

Carsten Jirschele is a senior at Marshfield High School. He plays defensive back and backup quarterback for the football team who has had multiple rescheduled and cancelled games this year. With this being his senior year, the concern is real that he, along with his classmates, will not get the football season he had originally hoped.

Neal Hogden: Obviously this year has been a mess with rescheduled games, cancelled games, different practice times and the like. What has been the hardest part of adjusting to this football season for you?

Carsten Jirschele: The hardest part so far has been dealing with the constant; you don’t know when your season could be done. Dealing with, is this going to be our last game because we’re going to be shut down because we have [positive] cases. We got shut down for two weeks because we had too many cases and we lost too many guys [to Covid-19]. Just trying to make all that work. You don’t know when your last game is going to be.

NH: You mentioned the schedule being impacted with not knowing when your season could be done. How has the day-to-day football been impacted with all of this stuff?

CJ: Usually, for us, on Sundays, for practice, we would watch film for an hour and then go and do a speed workout for an hour. Now this year, the WIAA is limiting us to only an hour and a half practice, total. We have to watch film at home on our iPads via Microsoft Teams which in my opinion is pretty bad. Coaches are trying to share their screens while breaking down plays and you can’t see the plays because [the video] pixelates and there’s lag. It just sucks because our normal practice routines are being changed from when we had an hour to watch film and now we have practice 3:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. where we’re only on the field and we have to come home and watch film but you can barely see the film.

NH: As far as games go, trying to prepare for one team and then having to play another team last minute, how frustrating has that been?

CJ: In our case, we had a game postponed from another team and we had to try to find another opponent. We found an opponent but then the Thursday morning before our game, our opponent changed to the best Division II program the last couple years in Menomonie. They run an unusual offense with a lot of guys on the line of scrimmage. It’s just hard to prepare for a team like that in a day and a half. In a normal season that wouldn’t happen because you have the normal team you play and you have a week to prepare. Every day counts for preparation and missing those days really hurts us.

NH: The struggles with putting together a successful football season are apparent but how have you and your classmates been holding up mentally through all of this?

CJ: I’ll speak for myself here but I know a lot of my teammates agree with this, just for Marshfield, it’s been very overwhelming. Just with school, sports and work and trying to have a life as well. With school being pretty much virtual except once every four days, you have to get all the lectures and homework [done]. It’s just everything from a normal class period times 10 because you’re missing that in-class time. Then you have to go to football where we have an hour and a half and that’s kind of my break for the day because I’m away from my school work. There was a specific week where we lost half our guys on defense because they had to quarantine so I had to learn a whole new position in linebacker which I’ve never played before and that just added to the stress. It’s just hard now with school to find that motivation to get up and do all that work and do it to your best. It’s just tough.

NH: Throughout all of this has there been something you’ve learned about yourself or classmates that has been encouraging or uplifting?

CJ: What I’ve learned from this is that we can bounce around, adjust, adapt, overcome challenges that are coming our way. That’s our [team] motto this year, “Adjust, Adapt and Overcome”. We have a lot of challenges this year. We have school, we have the Covid situation, we don’t know what’s going to happen next week. Are we going to play or are we not going to play? Over the last six weeks, I’ve seen how our team can adjust and adapt and that’s helping us as individuals to face challenges later on in life where we can be more adaptable and improvise and do what we need to do to succeed.

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

Neal Hogden
Author: Neal Hogden