Reverbs from the ECHO Chamber — a Q & A with Will Kempf ’20

Kyle Hodes '20, Staff Reporter

Will Kempf ’20       Signature Studio

Another in a continuing series of Q & A interviews with Trinity spring sports student-athletes.

Will Kempf, a 2020 Trinity graduate, was a member of the talented baseball Rocks, led by six-year head coach Rick Arnold ’86.  Before the end of the school year, Senior Class President Kempf, reflected on his years with the Trinity baseball team — and much more.

Q: How are you and your teammates dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic?

A: This is obviously an unprecedented situation. There’s no playbook on how to deal with this so we’re doing things in the best way we can. The team meets on a Zoom call at least once a week, and guys are reaching out to each other individually and on our players group chat. Everyone deals with disappointments like this differently, so I think all we can really ask of each other is to be there as teammates even though we’re not on the field. I’m proud that we’ve been able to do that so far.

Q: What expectations did you have for your senior season of baseball?

A: We had one goal, which was to win a state championship. Of course, events like senior night and opening day were exciting to me, but this team was determined to get to the top of the mountain. Outside of giving the title a run, I was excited to spend a year with my seniors on the field and get to know some of our awesome juniors even better. It’s the experiences outside the games that you really look back on and cherish. I was looking forward to making more of those memories with the phenomenal group we had this year.

Q: What was missed during your final baseball season?

A: We’ll never have the chance to play for a championship, but I will not say that I missed the experience of bonding with my teammates. We were blessed to have a full fall season and winter off-season, and during these periods, my teammates and I were still able to experience some of the highs and lows that come with every team. It will never live up to a full spring season, but the experiences we had will still be remembered. 

Reach out to your teachers, reach out to your friends, and never take the Trinity community for granted.”

Q: Do you think that the pandemic will hurt those hoping for spring sports scholarships?

A: I think and hope that unprecedented times will cultivate unprecedented solutions. In theory, missing a season would certainly hurt opportunities for playing at the next level. But I’ve already seen various organizations and schools going to incredible lengths to give players the chance to show their interest and skills to find a place for them. There is certainly reason for players to feel slighted, but I think there are new and unique opportunities for players to get themselves seen and chase the scholarships that any other class would be able to.

Q: As Senior Class President how do feel about the end of the school year?

A: This is the most difficult part to address for me. I know many letters and messages have been sent out, so I’ll be brief, but this is such a special class that deserves the world and more in their final weeks. We all know of the traditions and ceremonies that were scheduled. And while it won’t be the same, many are continuing virtually. For me, this situation has stripped away a lot of the ceremony of the end of senior year but has brought forward the love for each other and for Trinity that is so central to the end of this year. That recognition of brotherhood and love in the community is something that does not require traditional ceremonies to appreciate, and I hope seniors can recognize that among all the difficulties.

Q: What has been the hardest part about the quarantine?

A: I think the separation from so many people I care about has been most difficult. Whether teammates, classmates or teachers, I miss seeing my best friends every day and waving to them in the halls. Those little gestures were the kinds of things that made me smile on a hard day, and a lot of the avenues for that sense of connection have been closed. Fortunately, we still have tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom to see each other virtually.

Q: What have you done to keep active and entertained during this time?

A: It has taken a lot to keep me entertained at times, and I still find myself bored often. But there have certainly been healthy ways for me to stay busy. I love painting but I’m not much of an artist. I’ve done some paint by numbers (dorky, I know), and I’ve also spent a lot of time playing the cello and listening to music. Now that I’ve said the interesting and healthy ones, I also have to say that I’ve spent plenty of time binging Netflix, watching movies, and sleeping over this quarantine. In moderation, I think anything that helps people through this should be encouraged.

Q: What advice would you give to your fellow seniors?

A: I’m going through this with all of you all so I can’t claim that I have any sense of perspective that you guys don’t. I’ve had good days and bad days — and days where I’ve felt nothing at all. What I would say is no matter what, never let yourself feel that you are alone in this. You have so many people in your class and staff that are here for you even if you just need someone to speak your frustrations with. There’s no blueprint on how to move through something like this, but don’t isolate yourself or let the pain of this stir inside you. We will have chances to celebrate this class, and I pray every day that we will see each other again before we all leave for college. Until then, do your best to stay busy and help others.

Q: What do you think Trinity will do to help the Class of 2020?

A: One thing that every senior can be grateful for is that we have allies in the faculty and administration. I know that Dr. Mullen, Dr. Zoeller, and everyone involved in the planning is doing everything in their power to give seniors the best experience possible from these circumstances. I know there’s been an email released about all of the virtual events planned for graduation, along with the potential for an in-person gathering in late July. This is the part I’m most excited about because to me these ceremonies are more about connecting with classmates than any of the formalities. I hope that seniors have the patience to wait for this event because I believe it will be a truly memorable send-off for this class. Of course, I and so many other guys are here for anyone that has questions or just wants to talk. We’re in this together.

Q: What advice would you give to next year’s seniors?

A: One of the things that makes the end to this year so hard is leaving our Junior Class. It’s such an awesome group of guys that I admire so much, and I miss them every day, just as I do my classmates. I would just tell them to hold on to all the hope and also all the pain that they’re feeling right now. It’s odd to say, but you all have reason to hope and believe that you can have a successful senior year. At the same time, remembering the difficulties of this isolation is important, because it can give you such a greater appreciation for how special a “normal” day at Trinity is. Reach out to your teachers, reach out to your friends, and never take the Trinity community for granted.