3/25/20 Alexander Field

Alexander Field, where the Purdue baseball team plays its games, is empty this spring as all Purdue sports have been canceled.

College athletes don’t usually have a lot of free time.

Classes, workouts, practices, watching film and playing games: A day is regimented down to the finest detail. But in the midst of a global pandemic that’s forcing everyone to social distance and stay inside, two Purdue baseball players — senior catcher Bryce Bonner and sophomore infielder Evan Albrecht — are discovering new ways to stay busy.

Bonner, who started in nine games during the Boilermakers’ abbreviated season, has been getting into video games, specifically “Call of Duty: Warzone.”

“It’s kind of like ‘Fortnite,’” Bonner said. “That’s been occupying some time for me.”

He’s also used this excess of free time to sharpen his baseball mind by watching games from past seasons.

“(It) keeps my mind competitive,” Bonner said. “It’s hard to find competitive (sporting events) to watch nowadays.”

As for Albrecht, who’s back at home in Wisconsin, the cease in play has afforded him more time to spend with loved ones. He said he spent his spring break with his girlfriend at her aunt’s vacation home in Florida. He got a chance to relax by the pool and soak up a springtime sunshine that he’s usually battling against while trying to locate pop flies and line drives out on the baseball diamond.

“The last spring break I had I honestly think was in elementary school,” Albrecht said. “Baseball’s always taken up time, and being here in Wisconsin, I always had to travel for spring break.”

Albrecht is also looking forward to hanging out with his brother, who normally works in Chicago but is home in Wisconsin waiting out the pandemic.

“Messing around with him, sitting at the house we grew up in, it’s kind of fun being back,” Albrecht said.

Both Bonner and Albrecht said they have been able to navigate Purdue’s transition to online classes fairly well, since the majority of each of their courses were online anyway. The mid-semester shakeup hasn’t deterred either of them from putting education first.

“My No. 1 priority is school,” Bonner said. “The first thing I do in the morning is get schoolwork out of the way.”

Recommended for you