• Emma Nicles

Pros and Cons of sports adjustments

Allow me to speak for all students and student athletes when I say that COVID-19 has impacted both our learning and extracurriculars this fall and last spring. I know, especially for me, it’s made me much more grateful to be able to practice in a gym after volleyball tryouts were hosted outside for nearly a month. Even now that we’re allowed to be back in indoor gyms we have to wear masks and take extra precautions to help ensure our safety.

There are so many things I hadn’t thought of in games to be that big of a deal until they were taken away. For example, we can’t shake hands before or after the game with the opposing team. While this makes sense so we’re not giving our opponents high fives, it really took away the sportsmanship aspect out of the game.

With school and sports finally opening up again from being in full quarantine over most of the spring and summer, there are going to be positive cases that arise. This aspect especially affected my team because we had a teammate who had to quarantine for two weeks because she was exposed to a positive case. Since she had to quarantine, she missed out on over a week of practices, along with four games. This affected the team chemistry on and off the court immensely and will be a big problem for other fall sports as they could temporarily lose key players during the season.

Another troublesome area for most players is the ability to hear each other while playing. Volleyball is an especially communicative sport and, with a piece of fabric covering your mouth, it makes it hard for teammates to hear each other while on the court. The mask also restricts airflow and makes it exponentially harder to put forward your best effort on and off the court.

Lastly, the hardest part about playing while having to take these precautions is the lack of available team bonding. In all team sports, it is especially important to have good relationships between all players and coaches. These communication aspects usually develop outside of practices and games, and due to COVID-19, we are unable to gather in these sorts of situations.

This pandemic has shown how much we take for granted--whether it is being able to go to support our student athletes or simply having the luxury of not carrying our backpacks around the school all day. But I will continue to be grateful for the opportunity to get back in the gyms and be with my team.

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