QU men’s lacrosse inaugural season canceled while team is in Alabama

Eric Ruppel at lacrosse practice

Months of recruiting, countless hours spent on the practice field, getting to know new teammates, getting acquainted with a new school, all to play five games.

This is the reality the Quincy University lacrosse team had to face when its inaugural season got canceled almost before it even got started.

Via a Zoom call, head coach Eric Ruppel said this pandemic has brought even more relevance to the phrase, ‘Treat every day like it’s your last.’

“Every practice is going to be a little more high-tempo, fast-paced, high-energy,” he said, “because even in the doldrums of fall for us, or even the spring, that’s going to be in the back of their heads, like this could be taken away at any time. We might as well persevere through.”

The Hawks were in Alabama on the third leg of their four-game spring break road trip when the season was officially called off. They did get in their game against Alabama-Huntsville on Thursday, March 12, but after the announcement came the next morning that the season was canceled, the team hopped on the bus and made the 10-hour-long trek back to Quincy.

“There were some somber moments on the way back,” Ruppel said. “We took our time a little bit. Once the wave of emotion hit, you could see all of the boys crash kind of at once and get pretty somber about it.”

Upon returning to Quincy, the players packed up their dorm rooms and headed home. For freshman midfielder Grayson Kuan, home is in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Grayson Kuan and his parents
Grayson Kuan (center) with his parents, Erin and Brad Kuan. Photo courtesy Grayson Kuan.

“I was actually pretty lucky because my parents had come down for our spring break road trip,” he said. “Once we knew that classes had all been canceled and our season was done, we just packed up my room Saturday. With all the travel bans and everything that had come into place, we didn’t know if I was going to be able to come back, whether it was for school or to grab all my things. We just packed up my room then headed back home on Sunday, so it was a pretty quick turnaround.”

How is quarantine going at the Kuan household? Grayson said it depends on the day.

“We have our good and our bad days,” he said. “Whether it’s my sister and I having some banter back and forth, or everyone just needs their own space. We’re all doing our parts to keep the house clean. My sister already had quarantine rules set for us when we got home. It’s been pretty good for the most part.”

Both coach and player offered words of advice and encouragement during these uncertain times.

“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do,” Ruppel said. “It’s tough after three or four weeks when you want to go outside, and you want to go do this, you want to go do that, and you physically can’t because things that you can’t see are preventing it.

“As long as you keep that tough mentality, that as long as we weather the storm it’ll be fine, you’ll see the other side of this pretty quickly. But if you start to crumble and are a little bit weak-willed, you’re going to have a rough time.”

Kuan’s message was a bit shorter.

“Just make sure to keep your social distancing, wash your hands, stay clean, and stay safe.”

A shorter message, but no less profound.

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