EMILY TRELSTAD/SAGAMORE STAFF
During a typical year, athletes open the door of Marc Lofchie’s office to find the small room bustling with activity. People are laughing, there might be music playing and anxious athletes coming in with last minute problems before getting on a bus are quickly reassured by the helpful and experienced staff of students hired by Mr. Lofchie, Equipment Manager and the person that runs this entire operation. But of course, 2020 wasn’t a typical year.
COVID-19 has been a logistical nightmare for the Athletic Department and it has forced them to grapple with major changes to the way they operate.
When school was shut down in March, it was just at the end of most winter sports seasons, which is the time where most athletes return their uniforms. Lofchie said that when this crucial moment for retaining equipment was compromised, problems started to arise immediately.
“The winter season ended and kids were turning in uniforms, and then I could not go to BHS and keep collecting,” Lofchie said. “At this point in time there are still winter uniforms from basketball, cheerleading, squash, swimming and wrestling that I need to finally get back.”
Because so many athletes still have their old uniforms, the Athletic Department is left with a smaller supply of equipment, which worsens the already difficult issue of distributing these uniforms while still maintaining social distancing guidelines.
“As far as this year goes, it has been really challenging,” Lofchie said. “Usually I just have teams come into my office and sign out the items and make sure they will fit and the numbers on jerseys are what they want. Because of Covid, I had to make bags for each player with jerseys, shorts and whatever other clothing was needed for each sport.”
Even after athletes have picked up their uniforms, the process doesn’t end. Many people have problems with their uniforms or equipment that need solving, and according to senior Ronnie England, one of Lofchie’s employees, it has been complicated to fix such simple matters this year.
“Students can no longer come in anytime when they have issues with their uniforms,” England said. “For example, since students can’t try on their uniforms before checking them out anymore, the process of them taking the uniform home to try, returning it to be cleaned and getting them a new uniform is much lengthier.”
Beyond logistical complications, other things have changed in the Athletic Department during 2020. Before COVID-19 hit, the department has always been known to be a lively and exciting place. Former Lofchie employee senior Sam Brady-Myrov said that the pre-pandemic uniform office had an animated atmosphere.
“We would always be joking around, drinking coffee and blasting music while working. There was never a dull day,” Brady-Myrov said.
Without athletes rapidly cycling in and out of the office, it has become a much quieter, almost empty place. Despite the situational changes the department has endured, England says that it is still a fun place to work.
“Although working in the Athletic Department has been different this year, the morale has stayed the same, and I am just as happy to be working there,” England said. “It’s definitely quieter now with no students coming in and out, but Mr. Lofchie has done a good job keeping the same positive atmosphere.”