Participation pending in spring sports

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Photo credit: Bella Yoakam

The girls lacrosse team leaves space between seats on the bus ride to Troy Athens. “The number of players is lower this season than in past seasons but that’s because of a lot of factors,” Nixon said.

By Bella Yoakam and Arei Swain

The 2020-2021 school year has been more abnormal than previous years. Many student athletes have been affected by COVID-19, leaving them with the decision to participate in sports or not.          

Junior Eleanor Bernas, who plays on the varsity soccer team, feels that the fear of COVID-19 has changed the viewpoints of students, making them decide not to try out for spring sports. 

“I think people are not playing because they feel that things will not be normal,”  Bernas said. 

She feels that since there are less participants this year, some athletes will decide against playing in the future. Many of the students who have played sports have been quarantined as a result of participating in sports and coming in contact with other schools within their divisions. 

However, soccer is not the only spring sport that has been affected this year due to COVID-19, there has also been a change regarding the baseball team. Junior Parker O’Neill, who plays on the varsity baseball team, also feels that the fear of COVID-19 has made the participation in spring sports lower than before. 

“I think that some people want to be less exposed to COVID-19, but I understand that they want to be safe,” O’Neill said. 

While the number of athletes are down from previous years, O’Neill feels that these few years of setbacks will ultimately not prevail and determine the amount of participants in the future. 

“I think sports will rebound and there will be more participation next year and in the upcoming years in general,” O’Neill said. 

With students concerned about the safety of playing sports this spring, coaches have also acknowledged this issue. Math teacher and girls lacrosse coach, Lauren Nixon, noticed how the number of participants have been going down for the past three years. 

Three years ago was my smallest turnout for freshmen since I’ve been coaching and it has affected the number of players ever since,” said Nixon.

With the decrease in participants, coupled with COVID-19, some students didn’t even attempt to start a new sport this spring, especially when sports are all required to wear masks and get COVID-19 testing every week.

“All athletes must wear masks during practice and games, which is obviously new for this season due to Covid,”said Nixon. “At each practice players must complete a Covid screening to track athletes symptoms.”

 New players are being scared away from not just never playing before, but also the virus.

“COVID-19 has also kept a few players from trying out and most high school athletes have never played lacrosse before and feel they can’t learn a new sport at their age so they choose not to try out,” said Nixon.

Though finding athletes to play this spring has been a challenge players are still welcomed to join some spring teams. With the past struggle of this year coaches and players can only hope that this will all back to normal soon and team participant numbers will rise.

Once the number of cases drop and things begin to return to some normalcy I’m sure that students will feel more comfortable playing sports,” said Nixon.