Players adjust to COVID restrictions


GlenOak boys soccer playing league rival Perry boys soccer. Eagle photo courtesy of Ava McDavid.

When it was announced that schools would be reopening for the 2020-2021 school year, part-time or full-time, the next thing many students, parents and coaches thought about was if high school sports would also be able to start back up.

In August, Gov. Mike DeWine stated that both contact and non-contact sports would be allowed to have their fall season.

“We know that sports, particularly contact sports, contributes to the risk of the spread of COVID-19,” DeWine said in a press release. “On the other hand, we know that sports matters and makes a difference. It provides discipline, order and structure to the lives of student athletes.”

While sports seasons are able to happen, there are many changes the players as well as the spectators are seeing.

Some new safety regulations that athletes have been seeing includes wearing masks, increased sanitation and social distancing. These are not natural for many athletes, which creates a learning curve that athletes and coaches are adjusting to.

“I have noticed across the board, even with students from other schools, everyone is having a hard year,” senior cross country runner Alea Zelle said. “Times aren’t where they are supposed to be and I think that’s just all of the uncertainty of this year that’s lingering in everyone’s heads.”

On the flip side, some athletes are not fazed by the new regulations.

“Wearing masks has not impacted my performance. I played tennis this fall and during the actual playing time we didn’t need to have them on,” junior tennis player Noelle Meister said. “They are not distractors because in every sport so far we haven’t had to wear them during practice or games, just during downtime.”

Apart from sports programs, the dance program has also seen changes to the way they practice and perform. 

“Unlike some sports teams, the dancers are required to wear masks at all times, including practices and performances,” senior dancer Alyssa Serri said.

Serri has noticed a difference in her performance due to the mask mandate within the dance program that previous athletes have not reported experiencing.

“Having asthma and tachycardia, wearing the masks during dance class makes it incredibly hard to breathe and takes away most of my endurance,” Serri said.