Jamison Van Andel
The Huizenga Tennis and Track Center is typically home to tennis rackets, baseballs and the occasional lacrosse stick, but ever since Calvin’s COVID testing site moved indoors, teams have had to share the space with nasal swabs and personal protective equipment.
The tennis and track center, or TNT, was chosen to be the COVID testing site because of its size and location next to Calvin’s on-campus health center, according to facility director Justin TeBrake.
TeBrake has been in charge of scheduling sports practices and open recreation time around the COVID testing that happens in the TNT. Despite the presence of testing in the facility, it’s been business as usual for TeBrake as he manages the practice schedules of eight Calvin athletics teams.
“We will run practices from 6-8:00 a.m., classes from 8:00-1/2ish and then practices again from 2-11 p.m.,” TeBrake said. Testing occurs in the TNT between 8:30-10:45 a.m. and 2:30-4:45 p.m.
John Witte, who’s been in charge of testing procedure, has been encouraged by how things have gone. “We have coexisted with athletics really well so far, actually!” he said. “We are definitely the interlopers in their space, and they’ve been nothing but gracious.”
“The only real complication has been when the Track and Field team begins warming up and we’re finishing testing—but again, they have been accommodating to us, and we’re trying to be respectful of their space and times as well,” Witte said.
Calvin’s softball, baseball, lacrosse, track and field, and tennis teams have all been using the facility. In past years, the TNT has hosted multiple team practices at the same time, but that’s changed to allow for better social distancing. Calvin has turned to Grand Rapids Christian High School’s Eagle Stadium for some of its practices, along with moving outdoors when the weather is nice.
“Since we have been able to spread teams out it has been really manageable,” TeBrake said.
In addition, many teams have pushed back the start of their spring seasons, allowing for more flexibility to practice during winter and early spring. Women’s and men’s lacrosse kicked off their seasons Feb. 23 and Feb. 27, respectively. The baseball season begins March 12, and softball starts on March 20.
“COVID has been challenging at times with starting and stopping of programs, but it has not been anything big,” said TeBrake. “Everyone involved realizes that we need to be able to pivot and change plans almost daily.”