Athletes continue training during pandemic

Peter Bazianos, Executive Sports Editor

It was a quiet Wednesday afternoon in the North Suburban YMCA weight room as junior Adam Hamburg loaded weights onto his barbell. He was one of the first to arrive for the 12:15 p.m. session and warmed up on the bench press with his mask on. Hamburg has been lifting on and off at the YMCA for years, but he now relies on its weight room for access to his desired lifting equipment.

“I feel pretty safe [lifting at the YMCA],” said Hamburg in a phone interview. “I see people coming down there like once or twice every time I’m there to … spray everything down, wipe everything down.”

According to Edwina Del Giudice, guest services manager at the North Suburban YMCA, out of all the options listed on the website during the pandemic, registrations for the weight room and swimming pool have filled up most quickly. The weight room is limited to 10 people per 75-minute session, and the pool is limited to six people per 60-minute session. 

Paul Gibbs, fitness center coordinator at Glenbrook North, said in a video conference that as of Dec. 2, the Spartan Fitness Center is only open to staff members working in the building. The return date for all students cannot be determined until the Illinois government decreases current COVID-19 mitigations.

 In the meantime, Gibbs and other coaches have maximized the fitness center space by rearranging machines for social distancing.

“We’re going through wipes right now as we would when we’re [all] at school, and there’s probably about 5 percent of the people,” Gibbs said.

With the Spartan Fitness Center unavailable, some athletes like junior Matt Karis had to find an entirely new place to lift. Following a friend’s suggestion, Karis now lifts regularly at the Bernard Weinger Jewish Community Center. 

“It’s got a bench, it’s got a squat rack, it’s got dumbbells [and] it has a bunch of machines too for lifts. 

“It’s not as big as the GBN weight room, but it has everything,” Karis said in a phone interview.

Senior Eli Welke said in a phone interview that besides practicing at various outdoor basketball courts, he continued his training at Basketball Warehouse, working with multiple coaches throughout the summer.

According to Hamburg he is glad to have the YMCA as a training option even though it means wearing a mask the whole time.

“I was quite surprised [that the YMCA stayed open],” said Hamburg. “But I was relieved, because I had somewhere to lift.”