Fields and courts empty. Covid marches on. Covid rates got up to 58,000 cases in Oregon and 4,700 in our county by the middle of November, statistics showed. Sports were postponed until January at the earliest, although athletes began school workouts recently.
Conducting sports became the business of the Governor’s Office, Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education instead of Oregon School Activities Association per usual. OSAA stated that requirements were not met at the beginning of the year, meaning all fall sports which included football, volleyball, cross country and a few others, all had to be pushed back.
Until sports started, students had options for conditioning camps in November. Face masks are mandatory, entrance and exit plans are made to ensure six feet distancing is happening and more for the safety of everyone. All seasons have been shortened, they will start with two practice weeks and seven competition weeks while overlapping each other.
“Students are able to still play multiple sports, the seasons will overlap, but every season will start with two weeks of practice before competitions, so students that play multiple sports only will miss a few practices at the start of season,” athletic director Garet Luebbert said. Students were still able to find ways to stay active and other programs to play sports while OSAA was not permitting any sport or activities in the beginning.
“I played in quads tournaments under Adidas Northwest Juniors. As a player, I only had to wear a mask in and out of the building but spectators had to keep theirs on at all times. There was a limit of only 25 people in the gym at one time and they’d take everyone’s temperatures before coming in. Our tournaments were still scheduled to play but they will start in January instead of October like normal,” sophomore Brooke Keilani said about Covid affecting her club volleyball season. Covid had an effect on every student who is involved in sports or clubs because it’s what teens look forward to in high school.
“Honestly, it was really hard to get used to. A lot of athletes use sports and other activities to make them happier. I was doing anything I could just to find something to entertain me like runs, push ups and band exercises. Covid definitely has affected all of us a ton. I was able to join a football program called Eforce, but we weren’t even allowed to practice for football through the school and with Eforce, we had to play with a mask on and we weren’t allowed to shake hands with the opposing team at the end of the game,” sophomore Garrett Willenberg said. Not being able to participate in sports affects students motivation to participate in school too.
“Having a sport to look forward to really helps you get through the day in a positive attitude and it brings you closer to your teammates. Since there are no sports or social aspects of distance learning, it definitely changed my mentality and motivation towards school,” sophomore Colin Givens stated. Sports are such a big part of how people socialize with others. Teams become families, but with Covid, students haven’t had that.
“When Covid first hit, I was still going to the field or finding a place around home to do anything to stay active and keep working out. Once the actual lockdown occurred I was falling behind and lost the motivation, but it slowly came back as gyms and fields started opening up again. Covid affected a lot of my teammates and other athletes at Sandy who were hoping to play in college, but I know some athletes still received scholarships for sports at the next level and those athletes deserved it definitely. I can personally say with Covid, it affected a couple college showcases for football, so hopefully the colleges around us can hold something again to give those kids who haven’t gotten a scholarship a chance to receive one!” senior Michael Zangerle said.
Covid has affected everyone but especially student athletes because sports are more than just a way to be active. It’s a way to create a second family, a way to stay motivated in school and a good distraction when times are rough.