Santa Barbara High School sports have been in a very different situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past seven months, starting around late September, student athletes and coaches in each sport have had to follow certain restrictions. Those restrictions include social distancing, wearing masks, and rarely having any physical contact or touch. It’s not only those restrictions that have not allowed the normal practice routine, but the separation of players that are divided into different groups. These groups are called “cohorts,” and student athletes are assigned to different groups containing around a dozen players each. This is to minimize the chances of the spread of the coronavirus. It allows for better containment and traceability. The procedure when an athlete reports to school during this pandemic is that all players must have their parents fill out a form prior to arriving on campus and get their temperature checked once they enter., There is then a protocol that must be followed in order to keep all athletes safe.
Although this has been a great way to keep athletes safe, it’s also been a bit challenging. The reason for this is the constant promises of a season ahead, but then the dates end up being pushed back as we get closer to that given destination. I personally play football, and from what I’ve experienced, the cohorts have been a good experience so far, such as seeing teammates again, going over offensive and defensive schemes, and having some physical activity that would help improve our skills for when we are approved to play. But the challenges have been having to wear a mask during practice and getting an inadequate amount of air during physical exertion, times where we couldn’t use certain equipment (footballs, basketballs, etc.), and the unpredictable positive testings that could put football in jeopardy for a vast amount of time. If an athlete in any sport tests positive, his or her cohort will have to quarantine for fourteen days and thus miss practice time.
For other sports such as basketball, head coach Corey Adam has reported a positive outlook. Adam said, “We feel the cohorts are productive, the guys are getting some good conditioning in, working on individual skills, and we are able to have some competitive shooting games that are fun for the boys in addition to the camaraderie of getting to be together, even if socially distanced.”
Coach Corey Adam also shares why there is reason to be hopeful. “We are definitely hopeful”, Adam said, “We recognize we are not likely to get a full season in but we think we’ll be able to get a part of a season. We are in a very fluid situation, as more people get vaccinated and new research comes out about the spread of the virus, so we have reason to be optimistic.”
Sports may not have a full season or have a very small amount of games, but there is still a ray of hope for these athletes. This pandemic has taken almost everything from everyone in this world and their most passionate needs. And for these athletes, it has been a rough, and tiring amount of months with everything not going as planned. Although a handful of the seasons taken by each sport are a no-go, there is still hope for something, rather than nothing.
[Image Credit: Noozhawk]