By Piper Sartison and Cecilia Cress
Elm Staff Writer and News Co-Editor
On March 7, yellow and blue wristbands were delivered to the Washington College Athletic Department. Coaches were encouraged to raise awareness about the crisis in Ukraine and show their support with the wristbands as well as other types of yellow and blue clothing and accessories.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, sporting teams took a stand to showcase their support for Ukraine across the globe. According to an article published by “The Outside,” several organizations, including the International Hockey Federation, Fédération Internationale de Football Association, and World Athletics, banned Russian athletes from competing within their federations. Additionally, Electronic Arts Sports removed the Russian national team from FIFA games.
“Athletics has always had a special platform to be able to show support for important causes and I think this is a very important one,” Head Coach of Women’s Softball Sally Snover said.
At the head of these awareness efforts at WC is Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach Michael Herman. To raise awareness of the conflict in Ukraine, the tennis teams are wearing blue and yellow hair ties and bracelets to match the colors of the Ukrainian flag, as well as raising further awareness with social media posts.
“We decided as a team to do anything we could to bring more light to the situation, not just on campus, but also to any team that we will play against this year,” Herman said. “We started wearing blue and yellow…for our first matches of the season, [and] I think it really inspired our effort.”
Herman said that through these efforts, he hopes teams from other schools will be inspired to do something similar or raise awareness in their own ways.
“Overall, I would love if this was able to spread off campus and to other schools. I think that it will, and perhaps down the road, you will see more and more schools looking to do anything they can to make a difference,” Herman said.
Other athletics teams, such as lacrosse and baseball are also in full support of demonstrating awareness for the conflict, and the athletics department is even hoping to go beyond the current efforts to show support in a larger, more substantial way over time.
“We are talking as a department about finding ways to support families that have been displaced and [Herman] is helping us navigate exactly what that would look [like]. [We] certainly would support anything that could help the people of Ukraine,” Head Coach of Men’s Lacrosse Team John Nostrant said. “We have had conversations and I believe the team is very much aware of the crisis and would want to help along with the other teams at WC.”
“My hope is that we can go beyond and provide a more tangible form of help. I think the school will come together, like it has in the past, and its community will continue to get more information about the issue,” Herman said.
These possible efforts to help and support families displaced because of the conflict, as well as other ideas and awareness initiatives, “should be announced in the foreseeable future” to the WC community, according to Head Baseball Coach and Assistant Director of Athletics Cory Beddick.
“The current situation in Europe has reminded us of how lucky we are to be able to compete this spring,” Herman said. “I think with COVID-19 and other social issues going on, it has not been easy for anyone.”
“At the same time, it is ironic; the contrast of our everyday lives to those who have been risking their lives every day, losing their homes, and loved ones,” Herman said. “It should give our athletes perspective on life. These are valuable life lessons for all of us.”