Sports face COVID-19 restrictions


Kati Blaylock

Senior Evie Bartley shakes her poms over her head while preforming at the home varsity football game on Sept. 11.

Daniel Gonzalez-Arevalo, Reporter

The year 2020 has been a strange one when looking back at other years. A large part of this has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it has had on the lives of people around the world. For high school students, one of the biggest changes has been school and sports. The pandemic led to spring sports being cancelled earlier in the year and has caused most fall sports to change rules on how they operate.

For starters, all fall sports teams are required to wear masks when not participating in activities. This is to avoid any exposure through talking to someone face to face or the spread of germs when in a confined space. However, when masks aren’t being worn, students are required to social distance. Senior captain of the Railiners, Evie Bartley, describes when they are allowed to take off their masks.

For dance, we have to wear masks anytime we aren’t actively dancing,” Bartley said. “We keep them on most of practice and only take them off when we are dancing full out.”

Some changes to events formats don’t affect all sports in the same way. Senior gymnast, Elise Jantz, expected gymnastics to be different compared to the year before but realized her sport had not really been affected. She attributes this to the fact that gymnastics is not a contact sport.

“It’s not as different as I was expecting,” Jantz said. “Practice is pretty similar to past years.”

While both gymnastics and the Railiners dance team have not had too many drastic changes, that does not mean that they have not found some problems along the way. Bartley mentions that with wearing masks, dances have become harder to learn.

“It is harder to teach dances since people can’t hear you as well, but other than that, it isn’t too bad,” Bartley said.

For the gymnastics team, their state competition could be moved to a later time as Jantz describes. This is the only major change that they are facing and it is one that they are hoping does not occur.

“State might be several weeks later this year,” Jantz said. “Since gymnastics is an intense sport, it makes me worry that a few extra weeks might make us burn out.”

Even with all of the changes and worries the teams have initially faced, both teams are happy and excited to be participating in fall sports. Both the Railiners and gymnastics team are fine with doing what is necessary to have their sports season and don’t have any major complaints.

Our team was just happy to be dancing again and we were fine with having to wear masks,” Bartley said.