Imagine this: you’re at the last football game of the season, your body is freezing, you’re huddled around with your peers trying to keep warm in the crowded student section.Your team is down 47-50 and it’s the final quarter. You’re on the edge of your seat. The entire school watches as the running back parades across the endline, ball in hand, to score the game winning touchdown. The crowd’s screams ring in your ears and you watch the time on the clock dwindle down to zero.
This euphoric feeling, among others, is one that COVID has stolen from students across the country. Masks and social distancing could never compare to packed student sections and tailgates. Our school is one of the lucky ones; sports fans all over the world are wondering when, or if, they will be back in the stands or courtside supporting their favorite sports teams. With many sports seasons gearing up to start, we are all wondering: What will the Future of Sporting events look like?
Here at South, we were fortunate to have a fall football season at all, but it was definitely not the same. For starters, there was a limit to how many fans could attend the games, and they had to buy tickets in advance. A portion of those tickets were reserved for the players family, which further limits the amount of students who could attend. On top of that we couldn’t have pep rallies or tailgates before the games. All these limitations and restrictions had huge effects on the energy and excitement of school football games. In the past, our student section has brought all different types of students together to cheer on our fellow dragons on the field. This year, a student section full of masked, socially distanced students just doesn’t feel as unifying. Unfortunately, in the midst of this pandemic, there is just not the same buzz around school sports. Furthermore, scientists and medical professionals are learning more about this disease every day and hopefully by next year, school sporting events will be back to normal and the dragons will be back and better!
From a players perspective, there were also many restrictions. Beyond football, all teams socially distanced at practice, wore masks to and from practice, while working out in the weight room, during team meetings, and on the bus, and got their temperature checked everyday. Despite these minor setbacks, our student athletes were “rockstars” says Athletic Director Kelly Dike. She goes on to say that she was skeptical at first but as the season went on it became the “new normal” and energy and excitement began to rise. She says that student athletes were especially excited for the chance to get to play this year and were willing to do whatever was asked of them so they could play the sports they love. Amy Wells, the SOHS Volleyball Coach also had much to say about the excitement of players this season. She says her players “stayed upbeat, positive, and rolled with the punches of the season.” Not knowing what this year would bring, Wells says they “treated each day as a gift and an opportunity to do what we all love.”