Sports During Social Distancing

By: Amy Morrison

For the past 6 months, the coronavirus has made our lives and regular activities unrecognizable. Wearing masks has become the norm, online school has started for almost everyone, almost all of our events have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. This list is not limited to the sports and tournaments. While many professional sports leagues have begun practicing and playing again, high school sports are a different story with Valencia as no exception. 

Our athletics department has taken a hit in this new world that we live in. The district has been updating the parents and coaches about the new policies that they’ve put in place concerning sports. The biggest general change has been the new timing for all the seasons. Since the spread of COVID had not started to diminish when school was about to start, the district decided that fall sports could not start when they normally would have. Instead, they have been pushed back with the “fall” season starting in December. . While the new policies are district wide, they are generalized because sports have a wide range of environments. The new qualifications are pretty limiting since most of our sports require contact to play or in an enclosed environment. 

The district has deemed that any sport that can social distance and be outside is allowed to practice. If, when playing the sport, the athletes can not social distance the teams are allowed to condition or train but only if they can social distance and be outside during that activity. On top of these restrictions, any events that promote congregation or would require close contact are also not allowed, which means  tournaments can not be played. 

While all of these new policies make sense with the way things are in our world, that doesn’t mean athletes and coaches aren’t disappointed they won’t get their regular season. Coach Marganian, who coaches boys water polo, has expressed that his team is “. . . pretty bummed about not being able to practice/play and are eager to get started.” Although, ways to practice are pretty limited some teams are still figuring out ways to do so. Coach Thorne, who coaches volleyball, is working on at-home conditioning through Zoom in order to maintain the athletes’ physiques with a focus on injury prevention. 

While it is very disappointing for the athletes to not be able to spend time with teammates, train, or play competitively in front of audiences it is more important to instill the proper protocols to protect everyone.