enter image description here Samuel Perelman

Sam Perelman is a former ODU men's tennis student-athlete who was a member of ODU's 2018 Conference USA Championship team. He is a former ODU SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) President and is on the Division I National SAAC Committee as the Vice-Chair. Perelman is also a member of the Division I Council.

I write to offer a perspective which you most likely have not heard before during these trying times. While this letter is directed at athletes, sports professionals, and fans, I hope everyone has come to understand in the past days that this transhttps://www.olddominionaf.com/media/1516/image_handleraspx.jpegcends sports. Some may say it was only a season which was lost, but the student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and countless others who go unnamed day-in and day-out have lost so much more.

We lost the countless time put in to perform at our peak come gameday, and I do not mean just the student-athletes. We lost the hours spent with friends and family, either competing or watching our favorite teams and sports, and we lost so much more than that. It is impossible to put into one statement what each individual is feeling or going through. With that being said, please allow me to offer some comments to Monarch Nation:

To the fans: As someone who spent five years playing and now is able to experience you from the fields in a different light, I promise you your support is not unnoticed by any student-athlete or administrator on this campus. I heard from countless student-athletes across the country who were heartbroken to hear that there is a possibility of playing in front of empty stadiums. Please continue to support in whatever ways you are able to.

To the families: It is more than understandable that you are going through the same things which your children are. Many of you are equally invested in the teams of your children as they are, and it is OK to feel that. But it is you all who the student-athletes will look to in this time of uncertainty to make up for lost family time and reconnect on a different level than ever before.

To the administrators: If anyone understands the challenge you are going through, it is me. Your dedication and perseverance all to continue to ensure the safety and enhance what experience may be left for all Monarch student-athletes does not go unnoticed. The best thing I can offer you all is a thank you, and I believe that would be echoed by all 500 student-athletes. There will always be those who criticize decisions and look into the past, understand that you made the best decisions you possibly could and continue to move forward.

To the coaches: You put equally as many hours in as the young men and women who you are coaching. This has not been for nothing, even if this season has come to an end. You have taught your teams how to be resilient in times of stress, how to lean on each other in times of need, and how to come together no matter the circumstances. That will continue to hold true and be a motivating factor during these times.

And finally, to the student-athletes: Everyone is devastated, confused, and a bit lost at this moment. And I want you to know that is an OK feeling to have. Though each of your sports may be lost for the near future, we have all learned that your athletic careers do not define your success as human beings. Each and every one of you has brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, or friends who are close enough to be family. This disruption, in the big story of life, is not enough to take any of those things away from you. Lean on them, I promise you are not alone in this. Continue to have hope that one day soon we will have life back to normal and you will be back on the field with everyone listed above, and maybe more, cheering you on.

Please understand that what our world is going through is so much bigger than sports. I urge everyone to read and learn as much about what we are going through as you possibly can and take the proper measures in order to keep yourself and others safe. The quicker we are all able to overcome this, the quicker we can get back to normalcy. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay hopeful.

Sincerely,

Sam Perelman

Old Dominion Monarch NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, vice-chair