Competing in the Face of COVID-19

Competing+in+the+Face+of+COVID-19

Matthew Byers

Pike Temple, Reporter

We know that participating in sports helps people feel fitter, healthier, and mentally strong. Sports help players make new connections, increases their confidence, and reduces stress. It’s a pretty lopsided debate on whether to participate in sports or not. However, there is only one roadblock this year, Covid-19.

The Coronavirus had, for the past six months, left the world without sports. Yet, over the past few months, professional sports leagues have resumed. The Tampa Bay Lightning just won their second Stanley Cup. The Lakers just won the NBA playoffs, giving Lebron James his fourth championship ring. Worldwide soccer has been running fairly smoothly, plus the UEFA Champions League started this past week. The MLB playoffs have been exciting to watch, a World Series between the Dodgers and the Rays should be riveting. College Football had a bumpy start, but has hence carried on, boasting some exciting upsets. The NFL had some potential setbacks early on, but is not slowing down anytime soon. The return of professional sports have left many sports enthusiasts questioning the future of school athletics. One question that remains: which parents will let their children play in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, and which parents believe the risk of getting the virus is not worth letting a child play this year.

This fall sports season has been challenging. Each team has to change the way they practice and operate to fit the Covid-19 standards: keeping a distance of 6 ft. and wearing masks. Players and coaches from the various John Adams High School fall sports teams were asked some questions about how their seasons went during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Boys Soccer: “The season has been different in so many ways” (Cristian Mihut, Boys Soccer Head Coach). “We kept the three teams practicing separately, … in different pods or groups, … on different swaths of the field.” Coach Mihut continues, “The season was rough from the get-go. … Covid set us back in our pre-season preparation. … I kept telling the boys each time we came together, ‘Be thankful we have one more day to play soccer.’ We played and competed each time, deeply grateful for that chance. … I am proud of the way the boys and families responded.”

Girls Volleyball: “Obviously, going through a worldwide pandemic during our season wasn’t ideal, but we still managed and kept our heads held high,” mentioned Megan Kroll, a junior at Adams. “We had to go into every game and every practice with an open mind,” adding, “I think it is possible to play through another season during the Coronavirus Pandemic, but I would not want to.” Secilia Scheffler, a senior, described some of the ways the volleyball team operated this season. “Some precautions that were put in place were wearing masks … separating the teams,” and, “sanitizing all the equipment after practice. I felt like the precautions were necessary. They kept both us…as well as the teams we played, safe.” Secilia also added, “I think that (having a season) was a good choice. Since most of us have been stuck at home since March, it was good to be out playing.” Secilia also mentioned, “I think the season went great. We definitely played hard and worked hard.”

Girls Soccer: Veronica Karban, a senior, had this to say when asked if she thought this season went differently than seasons prior. “Every season is different, we are faced with new challenges each year and this year Covid was a new challenge. … We had to wear masks,” and, “get our temperatures taken before every practice or game. … We just need to try to be safe as possible.” Veronica concluded, “The most challenging aspect (to this season), I would say would be that we weren’t in school. When we are in school, our bonds with all the girls on the team grow so much because we spend so much time together.” Veronica later stated, “Having the season made so many people happy. … As long as we get to play I’m happy.”

Obviously, having the various fall sports teams play during this worldwide pandemic was a significant decision, especially with the number of coronavirus cases in the county trending upward in the past few months. But, in this “new normal,” having some sense of “what was once normal,” according to the interviewees, is very much appreciated.