Flipping into COVID-19


COVID-19 has affected a lot of sports and the way everything has to be done. Masks have to be worn almost all the time during practice unless the athletes are training, along with strict social distancing rules that are needed to keep everyone safe.

Gymnastics has to follow a lot of these regulations to keep the gymnasts safe and healthy and to get ready for competition season. 

During the 2021 season, the team did not have to worry about the strict COVID-19 regulations. But now, there are many new ones they have to follow in order to keep the season alive and not have to shut it down. 

“Like most sports, we have to clean extra and wear masks when not competing, following the basic covid protocols,” gymnastics coach Alyssa West said. “There is only allowed to be dual meets, no tri-meets. Also, there are a very strict six competitors per event regulation. Spectators are restricted or not allowed depending on the meet location.”

Many things have changed for the gymnasts, with the way they have to practice, compete and keep the equipment clean. 

“This year things have been way different just because of Covid in general. We usually compete with lots of teams which was always so fun but that’s had to change for our safety, even with a lot of changes we’ve made the best with what we have got and have had a great season so far,” senior gymnast Ashlyn Hall said.

With the new regulations, the team has hit some rough patches with scheduling practices and competitions. Due to the pandemic, they were still able to have the same number of meets but, spectators were a hit or miss. As in, the YMCA didn’t allow anyone inside but, at Massillon and McKinley there were two tickets per gymnast. 

“It was difficult to schedule meets, as there was a shortage of judges in the state and the strict dual meet only rule,” West said. “We had the same number of meets as last season, three regular season and sectionals.” 

Although following the regulations may be hard for a lot of sports that have running and lifting involved, the gymnastics team has not experienced any problems with anything yet. Although making adjustments to their daily routine, has dramatically helped the team out during the pandemic. 

“No problems yet, just adjusting and making time to clean all the equipment at practices and meets between uses,” West said. 

Hall has found ways to cope through the mess of COVID-19 and the new regulations. It may not be easy, but she finds a way to make it through without getting upset over something that she should not. 

“I cope by trying to make the most out of what we have instead of being upset about it,” Hall said. 

From the years that West has been through, this year has not really impacted the way she has been running things at the gym. 

“Luckily nothing has changed from last year,” West said. 

Things may not have impacted West just yet, but the new rules have impacted Hall a little differently. With not being able to interact with the other gymnasts that are at the gym from other schools. 

“We practice with other high schools in the Federal League and we usually socialize and have a lot of fun together, but this year we are unable to be around them,” Hall said. 

There are many things to dislike about this year, but everyone has their difference of opinions about the regulations. 

“Sometimes it can be hard to hear each other and communicate with the athletes with the mask on, but we have adapted to it,” West said. 

Hall has some mixed feelings about how her senior year is working for her. She wishes it could change, but also appreciates that she has a season to close out her years in high school.

“I wish I was able to have a normal season for my senior year but I am happy with how it turned out so I wouldn’t change it,” Hall said. 

Despites the negatives, events have been easier to deal with during COVID-19. Instead of showing up to a competition in the morning and ending around sometime in the late afternoon or at night, they are only a couple to a few hours now. 

“Usually our meets take hours upon hours,” Hall said, “But with covid regulations in place, they’ve become a lot shorter but I do miss everyone being at the meets all at once.”