What’s The Word On Winter Sports?

The+WSHS+gymnasium+will+not+hold+any+sports+practices+until+further+notice.

Alleyna Pitaso

The WSHS gymnasium will not hold any sports practices until further notice.

Alleyna Pitaso, Sports Editor

It’s been a long 8 months since Covid-19 has put the country into lock-down. Most of us thought that quarantine wouldn’t last long. For most athletes, while they were upset about spring sports being cancelled, they never thought that it would continue into the next school year. The rest of this year’s fall sports season was cancelled, and this left little room for winter sports athletes to hope for their sport to continue.

As of right now the PVIAC Executive Board stated that football and indoor track are set to begin on February 22nd for the Fall 2 season while cheer and wrestling start on April 26th for the spring season. Hockey, basketball, and swimming are the only winter sports that have been approved to start on the delayed December 14th date.

Matt Griffin, the head coach for the Girls Varsity Indoor Track & Field team, is just one person in a long list of many who are anxious about the possibility of participating in the sport they love. “I am really hoping the student athletes are able to compete at some point for the winter season. ‘Possibly’ means there’s still a chance.” Unfortunately, for this past fall season, certain sports had a “possible” start date that never came. On the chance that winter sports are cancelled, Coach Griffin plans to spend his days with his family, staying healthy, and planning for the next season of track.

But how are students reacting to the news? While many students are disappointed that school sports are getting cancelled some, like sophomore Melania Diaz, believe it is necessary. Diaz feels it’s in the best interest of everybody that sports stay cancelled. “Speaking from experience for doing indoor track, starting indoors and going outside for a little bit is beneficial since it’s so cold outside and we could freeze. For our health and safety, if we can’t go inside, high school sports (especially ones that go over into colder times) should get cancelled,” she said.

Not all students agree with the postponement or cancellation of sports though. For athletes whose sport doesn’t involve contact with others, it can be frustrating to watch as all aspects of athletics seem to be treated the same, instead of creating guidelines for different teams. “Some sports are far less dangerous than others in terms of contact and social distancing and they could’ve been continued if there was a plan involved,” said senior Chloe Bramlett.  Swimming and track don’t require any touching, and if the right regulations are created, can be modified to meet Covid-19 guidelines. Too many athletes it feels like there hasn’t been an effort so far to meet the individual needs of each sports team.

Athletic Director Glenn Doulette has some insight as to why certain decisions were made. “The reason Indoor Track was moved to Fall 2 is that across the state there is limited to no access for facilities to hold meets.  Smith College (our conference site) is not permitting any outside groups and the hope is that there is greater access to facilities or we can conduct events outside if weather permits during Fall 2,” he said. The MIAA Board of Directors voted to push back the start date of winter sports due to Covid-19 cases rising across the state. By pushing back the start date, this gives schools the opportunity to plan any modifications they may need to make in order to participate in the conference.

As of right now, the actual possibility of some winter sports taking place appears to be slim. For coaches and student-athletes, the disappointment of yet another cancelled season is something that they have had to come to terms with. Despite all of this, athletes and coaches have proven to be resilient and able to adapt to whatever is thrown at them. With or without the official start of an Indoor Track season, Coach Griffin is planning on creating workouts that he can send out to the team to help keep them in shape. He also wants to remind all student-athletes to stay healthy, keep your grades up, and follow safety guidelines. But when it comes to competing next season, he only has one thing to say…

“Be ready.”