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Follies and funnies from a year of practice

The Tufts Daily
Members of the Jumbo softball team, their mitts lined up against the fence, practice on April 10.Sophie Dolan / The Tufts Daily

By Isabel Castro

The Tufts Daily Sports section typically uses the Commencement issue as an opportunity to reflect on Tufts’ top sports moments of the academic year. This year, most teams had their seasons canceled due to the pandemic but were still able to practice. And practice. And practice some more. So we’re recapping some of the funniest Tufts athletics practice moments of the 2020–21 academic year — the moments that provided teams and athletes some levity in a year defined by disappointment. As Allen Iverson infamously said, “We talkin’ about practice.”  

Peter DeMaria earns ‘player of the game’

Coaches are never too old to get involved in games, regardless of the circumstance. Rising junior Jack Schwartz, a pitcher on the baseball team, described the situation. 

“[The] funniest moment during practice this year was when Peter DeMaria smoked coach Casey with a line drive in the arm, so coach Clark gave Peter ‘player of the game’ because of it,” Schwartz said.

No pain, no gain, no laughs.

Nolan Ostmo wins best costume

This past fall the Tufts football team decided to switch out its classic brown and blue uniforms during its practice on Halloween morning. 

“The linebackers all dressed up as the minions from Despicable Me, and had all the suspenders, goggles, everything really — the whole nine yards,” quarterback Drew Gally, a graduating senior, said. “My roommate Nolan Ostmo took my huge green Yoshi costume from high school out of my closet, wore it, and won a sweet pullover for having the best costume. Every time he wears it now, I joke with him that it should be mine.” 

Everyone remembers Halloween practice with a chuckle, except Gally, who’s left wondering about the pullover that got away.

Women’s lacrosse player goes viral

With TikTok’s surge in popularity, it was only a matter of time until a face or two popped up from Tufts. Sure enough, a little mask maneuvering on the women’s lacrosse team led to a viral clip. Sasha Bellack, a rising sophomore on the team, said that it started when practice was moved inside due to a thunderstorm and the defenders partnered up for drills. 

“One partner would be blindfolded and the other had to direct the other around the gym to find a hidden weight. It was really funny because everyone was running into each other,” Bellack said. “Everyone was wearing their masks over their entire face making them look like one of the Among Us characters. One of our coaches posted a photo on our Instagram of a [first-year] wearing the mask like that and she ended up going viral on TikTok because she made a TikTok about how funny she looked.”

Teammates lead ‘Fun Friday’ roast

Every Friday during a normal fall season, the women’s soccer team has a tradition called “Fun Friday,” during which two players lead the team in a bonding activity followed by a speech designed to hype players up for the weekend. Think Herb Brooks “Miracle on Ice”-level speeches, only better. With no competition this past fall, “Fun Friday” was centered around building up the camaraderie of the team. For graduating senior defender Rachel Brown, one duo’s performance stood above the rest. 

“I think I have to go with Kylie Metcalf and Margaux Ameer surprising us in morph suits along with their choreographed dance and team roast speech,” Brown said.

Defensive back dances on sideline

Sometimes you just start feeling it and have to dance like nobody’s watching. Some people do it in the kitchen, others in their dorm room or at a party. Cam O’Brien does it at football practice.

“We were watching film on Zoom recently and a teammate of mine, Cam O’Brien, was on the sideline dancing and completely not paying attention, which was hilarious. Our coach was not amused by Cam’s activities,” Jaden Pena, a rising junior on the team, said.

Max Clivio sends it into the streets

Giving 110% can be a little too much. In the fall, the Tufts men’s soccer team posted a video on the team’s Instagram of a player rocketing a shot so far away from the goal it almost hit cars on a nearby road. Rising sophomore Max Clivio, the man behind the shank, gave his side of the story. 

“Back in the fall we were doing a competitive finishing drill and the team was split into two separate groups and we were competing against each other,” Clivio said. “I stepped up to take a shot on the bounce and absolutely launched the ball sideways off of [Bello Field] onto Wellesley Street. It just so happened that coach EJ was filming and posted my miss on the team’s Instagram story.” 

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The Tufts Daily is the entirely student-run newspaper of record at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. An editorially and financially independent organization, the Daily’s staff of more than 100 covers news, features, arts and sports on Tufts’ four campuses and in its host communities. The Daily’s editorial board and columnists provide opinions and commentary alongside op-eds submitted by readers and members of the Tufts community. In recent years, the Daily has also expanded into multimedia, including podcasts and videojournalism. Founded in 1980, the Daily publishes a print edition four days each week and a digital edition every weekday during the academic year. All of the Daily’s coverage can be found on its consistently updated website devoted to upholding its motto: “Where you read it first.”

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