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A Letter to the Saint Mary's Athletics Family

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Dear Athletic Family,

As we work through this very difficult news, we hold our spring teams - especially our senior student-athletes - close to our hearts. The air on the day before spring break was charged with excitement as our spring teams prepared to head to warmer climates, anxious to face the challenges that come with competition. In a matter of days, everything changed.

Seasons are never long enough. When I was the volleyball coach for the Belles, I was never ready for the season to be over. I loved working with my student-athletes! Working through the challenges, experiencing the triumphs, seeing the friendships form, and the team chemistry gel – every season was special as we grew individually and collectively. I hated to face the end of the sport season. My mind goes now to my spring coaches and teams, and I think, "at least I had a full season". Theirs was ripped away too soon with no time to emotionally prepare for such devastating news. My coaches are mourning the loss of a season that never got to fully develop. I also think of my committed support staff. They are hurting as well. My athletic trainers always took such great care of our Belles. It is hard for them right now not to be able to fix this deep hurt. For my sports information director who takes such joy in sharing the successes of our Belles - it is hard for her to know the promise these spring teams held, the great stories that would unfold as the seasons got rolling, and the talent that was sure to break records. She will not be able to write those stories.

For my spring sport student-athletes, especially our seniors: this letter has been the most difficult for me to write to you. Words do not come easily as I am very aware that there is nothing I can say to ease the profound loss and sadness that you are experiencing. In sport, we are trained to try to control the controllables. The coronavirus situation left us with few variables within our control. As I have been soul searching for the positive that I can pull out of this situation, my thoughts go back to the controllables. Your spring seasons were taken away from you far too soon; but, what cannot be taken away from is your passion for your sport and the friendships formed through training, traveling, and competing together. These are yours for life. You are Belles. You have a sisterhood that is alive and strong. Use this sisterhood to listen to each other, to let your emotions out, and to support and strengthen one another. Know also that we are here for you. We plan to stay engaged with you throughout this time apart, but do not hesitate to reach out in the time between.

This season will never be forgotten. We will be back together again soon, and I am confident that the memory of this season will only fuel the competitive spirit of the Belles that much more. I close this letter strongly feeling the bonds that connect us and the blessings that come with being part of such a caring and committed Belles Athletic Family.

Our hearts are with you. Go Belles!

Julie Schroeder-Biek signature

Julie Schroeder-Biek '88
Director of Athletics