• Anna McLean

Sports to begin, new regulations

School dynamics are not the only things being affected by COVID-19. School sports, one of the biggest aspects of our school lives and some of the most anticipated events of the school year, have been drastically impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

For starters: football games. One of the most, if not the most attended events of the school year, has been unfortunately taken away. Players on the team are allowed two visitor passes, which are to be given to the two people the player wishes to attend their games, whereas, in past years, up to the entire student body and much of the staff would show. The implementation of these passes has been one of the most upsetting aspects of Covid adjustments. An anonymous student says, “I was so looking forward to finally being able to sit in the student section this year. It really sucks that we can’t do that this year.”

Not only are the crowds and attendance of sports games being reduced, but players are also required to wear face coverings while playing. As you can imagine, this has been quite a difficult adjustment, for both the players and their coaches. It’s still fairly warm outside and the gyms tend to transform into saunas when lots of people congregate, so student athletes are trying to be as diligent as they can be given the conditions they have to work with. For the most part, though, students are just happy to be back in the fall sports they love.

In another extension to keep Spring Lake athletes as safe as possible, Spring Lake’s volleyball program hosted tryouts at the freshman, JV, and Varsity level outside at Mr. and Mrs. Bulthuis’s house. The Bulthuises have been involved in Spring Lake Schools for years, with Mrs. Bulthuis teaching at the intermediate level for many years past. Mrs. Bulthuis was also the former Varsity volleyball coach for 27 years, prior to her daughter, Mrs. Cassidy Hazekamp. Coach Hazekamp, alongside her mother and father, provided amazing access for their players to demonstrate their skills, while also preventing the spread of Covid. Although this may have not been the program’s first choice as to how they would’ve liked to host tryouts, it certainly was worth it.

Coach Hazekamp says, “We started this season just hoping for the opportunity to play. We didn't know that would leave us outside playing on a grass court for a month. Just wanting to play, turned into a serious desire to get into our gym and play the game we love. We're happy to be playing volleyball indoors. The masks are a challenge, but nothing that our teams can't handle. They are resilient. We will make the most of the season we have been given the opportunity to play. Go Lakers!”

While being unable to attend school sports is certainly not ideal, as well as making adjustments that are well out of the norm for athletes, students are staying vigilant about wearing masks and stopping the spread of Covid. Hopefully by this time next year, Spring Lake High School can cheer their Laker athletes on from the sidelines.

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