How Fall Sports Teams Are Handling COVID-19

Written By: Lily Tender

Over the summer, St. Mary’s released that no fall sports teams would be having their seasons due to COVID-19. And this was definitely a necessary protocol for safety, many student-athletes were distraught with the news. Junior Owen Smith mentioned that “the season being canceled was definitely hard for all of us at first. Although we’ve been able to adapt and do as much as we can while staying safe.” Staying safe is definitely a priority for athletes as they begin to phase into their practices. Aidan Kelley continues by saying that“Phase one practices are only up to ten people and require athletes to stay six feet apart with masks on. Phase one has larger groups while still keeping a six-foot distance and masks, phase three looks like a normal practice with masks on.” 

As of now practices are being pushed back as far as the school needs to ensure safety and it is unlikely that practices will get to phase three given the rising number of cases on campus. While discussing past seasons, Smith recounts how much he misses the social dynamic of soccer as he states“Just being around everybody all the time on the field, in the locker room, and on the bus.” He especially misses Coach Oliver. Luckily they are able to still maintain the social element while being safe. Many of the freshmen are missing out on the amazing moments that Smith describes that make not having a season so hard. However, Kelley says the upperclassmen are making sure that the freshmen feel included as he remarks“We hang out with them in small groups at the docks.” He continues“We try to make them feel at home because we feel bad they are missing the first part of their first season. We’ve been able to still get close to them.” Missing the end of their senior year of high school, and having a far from normal first semester at college can be tough, especially if you the students athletes were excited to play collegiate soccer. However the upperclassmen have their back. 

This school year is chaotic to say the least, but safety is extremely important, especially in major populations like sports teams. Making sure individuals limit their exposure, wash their hands, wear masks, and do not hang out ingroups larger than ten can help to keep the campus safe. While it is hard to predict the future, hopefully, if students follow safety protocols, the men’s soccer team, along with other sports teams, can have a spring season. Kelley was disappointed about not having a fall season, but he reports that “[he is] still optimistic about the future.” Hopefully, for the sake of the campus community and surrounding area, Kelley’s optimism holds true, as a spring season would mean a decline of COVID cases and an amazing opportunity for sports teams and other activities to do the activities that they have been missing.

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