Sports During the Pandemic

Eve Loehrer and Marissa Escamilla-Flores

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the fate of fall sports was uncertain due to health and safety risks. Although schools were not in session at the time, sports seasons began in August as scheduled. For the first few weeks, seasons were always in danger of being postponed or canceled, but athletes were able to play, even if the seasons looked different.

“I think a lot of coaches were down on playing a full season, but we thought we’d be able to get out and play at some point, which we were indeed able to and very fortunate to have a season,” varsity soccer coach Jared Schelp said. 

In order to play, coaches and athletes have to follow certain protocols to keep everyone safe. Some of these precautions include wearing masks whenever possible, sanitizing frequently, and following social distancing guidelines.

“There’s not as much, necessarily, team camaraderie because, as a whole program, we’re not together very often,” head volleyball coach Nathan Eick said. “We try to keep everybody separated out by teams.”

Also, many seasons have been cut short and more significant events have been canceled. For example, the marching band is not permitted to perform their halftime shows at football games and participate in competitions.

“We are performing a show, and we are going to put it on the field, but it’s only going to be for our parents,” Sophomore and marching band participant Elena McGuire said. “We still get to go to football games as of right now, but we don’t know how many more football games we’ll actually be able to go to. Hopefully, more.”

With so much uncertainty, every practice and every game is much more important than in previous years because each could be the last.

“I’m not going to take regular volleyball when we play with no masks and we’re playing regularly, I’m not going to take that for granted,” Eick said. “I’m not going to take summer program or summer camp for granted anymore.”

Even when sports seasons return to some semblance of normalcy, the outlook of coaches and athletes may be changed. 

“I think everybody has realized that throughout the course of the whole coronavirus that there’s more to life than sports,” Eick said. “Sports make life more enjoyable, obviously, for many people, but there are things that are more important.”