Spartan student athletes face most challenging season yet

Courtesy+Emma+Goldkopf

Courtesy Emma Goldkopf

Mask wearing and other healthy and safety protocols continue to challenge WS athletes

Robert Morrison, Sports Editor

With the recent resumption of VHSL winter athletics, WS student athletes face new obstacles as they navigate a season of sports amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. 

One of the most challenging and notable issues currently facing athletes relate to the newly developed COVID-19 health and safety protocols. In an effort to prevent the spread and transmission of the potentially fatal virus, facial masks and coverings are required to be worn during all team meetings, practices, and in some instances actual competition. Said requirements present a number of issues for student athletes specifically with regards to their ability to breath and effectively communicate with one another during competition.

“The biggest difference [between this season and the previous one] is probably the masks. It’s very difficult to run in them but everyone has been adapting and learning” said junior Kyle LaJoye who participates on the track and field team. 

Enforcing and abiding by social distancing mandates has also proven to be quite difficult, especially for those so accustomed to close gatherings in their respective sport.

“The most challenging part of the season has been staying socially distanced with events like relays,” said junior Connor Spada who competes on the Swim and Dive team. 

Additionally, the current restrictions regarding the limitation on the number of people permitted to attend sporting events has had a substantial impact on WS athletes as well as the overall rhythm and flow of competition. The phrase “home field advantage,” which plays a vital role in the outcome of events, now holds little to no value without fans in attendance. Such restrictions on fan attendance have even dampened the fun and enjoyment typically experienced during a season of sports. 

“Not being able to cheer your friend on in races and not having a crowd definitely takes away from the fun,” said Junior Connor Spada. 

Despite this and the numerous obstacles affecting the current winter season, WS athletes remain resilient in their pursuit of a successful, and most importantly, unscathed 2021 season of sports.