Usually when you’re planning to head home after a long time away, there’s usually some plans in place in order for you to hit the road as efficiently and easily as possible. Although under certain circumstances, like those of right now, efficient and easy may not be the option that you’re presented with at the time of your departure.
What feels like months ago now was actually less than two weeks since the Rochester Knighthawks found out that their inaugural season would be put on pause due to growing concerns surrounding the outbreak and subsequent spread of COVID-19. At noon on Thursday, Mar. 12, the players would find out about the suspension of their season on a team conference call, forcing some of the athletes on the Knighthawks roster to make moves much more suddenly than they thought they would have to, one of them being rookie Ryland Rees.
“Once we found out on our conference call at noon, the very next day my flight was at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. So basically, I had that afternoon to kind of pack. I did leave a lot of stuff in Rochester and I just grabbed what I needed for however long this is going to be,” recalled the first-year transition man when asked how long it took him to make the move back home after hearing the news from the National Lacrosse League.
After arriving back in British Columbia for the first time in months, Rees put himself into self-quarantine for a week in order to ensure the safety of others due to the travel that he had just endured. It was upon that arrival, though, that the Knighthawks transition player had been hit with the reality that his rookie season was on a standstill until further notice.
“It hit me when I got back home, just seeing all of the interviews of all of the other sports and talking to some of my teammates that maybe this is going to be bigger than sports,” said Rees, Rochester’s second overall pick in this past year’s NLL Entry Draft.
Since being back at home for almost two weeks now, Rees has continued to quarantine with his family while trying to stay in the best shape possible in hopes that games will return sometime soon. From workouts in his garage, to runs in the forest beside his house, participating in various athletic challenges on his social platforms and setting timers on his phone in order to get him up and active every 30 minutes, it seems that it will be no issue for the Rochester rookie to stay in tiptop shape.
More importantly, though, Rees is embracing his time while at home as this is the longest break he has had from lacrosse since graduating from Stony Brook College just last May. As this time period gives him ample opportunity to spend with his loved ones, Rees is also getting the chance to relax and take care of his body while back at home.
“I do miss all of my teammates and being in Rochester, but there’s nothing really better than being with your family,” commented Rees when asked how he can turn this uncertain time into a period of positivity.
For now, the Knighthawks season still remains on pause until further notice, but we can promise you that the players are more than ready to get back into action as soon as they possibly can. Until then, they all remain safe back at home with their loved ones and are working on what they can to bring their best game possible upon their hopeful return to the turf.
With one final message from Rees to you all here in Rochester, he’ll leave you with this.
“Hopefully everyone is staying safe and following the health guidelines – stay at home, wash your hands, keep your distance and just be smart about this whole thing because it’s bigger than just you. To get back out there on the floor, everyone just needs to do their part and remember this is a we thing, not a me thing.”