A day in the life of a Wilkes football player: Ryan Martel

Dylan Mehl, Co-Sports Editor

Getting up for an 8 a.m. is no easy task for some students. But for Ryan Martel, a second-year football player, the routine starts at the early hour of 5:15 a.m.

Team lifts are from 6 to 8 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday under the current schedule, but players must get there 15 minutes early, due to new safety precautions for COVID-19.

“It’s weird, especially since I’m from Connecticut where we have some restrictions, but I am used to working out in my own gym,” said Martel.

Players on the team are now required to work out in specific sections of the gym, wear masks at all times, limit their workouts to 50 minutes and disinfect all equipment after use.

During the morning lift, Martel works out with an assigned group of two or three people to minimize the amount of contact with other players, thus reducing the spread of germs.

Smaller pods are able to keep teams together as a unit. The people in his group are the only ones allowed to come into contact with the weights on their rack until they’re disinfected for the next group.

With many restrictions in place, players currently only get 50 minutes of workout time and 10 minutes of post-workout sanitation.

After morning lift, much of the team gets breakfast to re-energize. An omelet and some potatoes is how Martel prefers to refuel. Protein shakes are also a big part of Martel and his roommates’ daily routine, as they look to build muscle mass.

This semester, a relatively normal school day starts after breakfast. Martel finds himself going to class like anyone else. As an athlete, he has study hall every day to ensure that he remains academically eligible for his potential season.

Looking forward, Martel and the other football players would like to get back to on-the-field workouts and practices as soon as possible.

This could be coming in a few weeks; however, just because athletes may be back on the field does not mean everything will be back to normal.

The on-field workouts will again be limited to certain groups at that time, yet they will certainly be bigger than the small groups for lift. The main goal of this work is to be able to integrate safe competition in the spring of 2021.

“This decision was very difficult, as we know how deep the love of the game is for our student-athletes and that intercollegiate events are an important part of campus life for our entire community,” said Dr. Andrea E. Chapdelaine, chair of MAC President’s Council and Hood College president per gomacsports.com, when originally postponing fall 2020 athletic competition in July.

The MAC conference, like many others, is trying to get their student-athletes back to competing but not risking their safety in doing so.

“I just can’t wait to get back on the field and work on our craft until we are able to play other schools,” said Mike Goralski, sophomore tight end. “Whether that be in the spring or next fall, I’m just excited to play football.”

For Martel, getting back on the field is a mission that goes deeper than some other players, as his last season was derailed due to injury in September. He fractured his left ankle during the team’s bye week.

“I basically haven’t played football in two years, and that’s a long time for me,” said Martel. “I have been craving football for the longest time and can’t wait to just get back out there and start playing again.”

This mindset is what motivates Martel throughout the day. He knows he needs to eat right and keep his body in the best possible shape for when his chance to hit the field comes again.

After a day of school work and working out, Martel must once again have a protein-filled dinner to remain in football shape.

Football, however, is not the only extra curricular for Martel, as his everyday schedule includes roles in both Student Government and WCLH radio.

Being a class representative comes with several responsibilities. His duties include attending weekly meetings, discussing ideas for on campus events and ultimately voting on what happens around campus for Wilkes students.

“It allows me to meet more people and get more connections to further develop relationships with people here at Wilkes,” said Martel.

Martel then spends many of his evenings inside the WCLH studio as a radio personality on “The Huddle,” a sports show. He is on this show every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, where he hosts his own segment, “The Penalty Box,” on the Tuesday editions of the show.

“I love doing radio,” said Martel. “I like talking my mind about sports with someone who is as passionate about sports as I am. To be able to go on-air live with two co-hosts and talk about what I love, I just feel as if I am in my element.”

Martel usually ends his nights relaxing with his roommates, watching a game or playing some Wii sports before heading to bed around 11 p.m. to get a good night’s rest for the next day ahead.