Jess Leon '22
When morning air turns crisp, the leaves begin falling and the first NFL football games kick off; that’s when you know high school sports are upon us. Yet, walking around Staples, the loud cheers from the crowd, the huddles between teams and the fields filled with athletes from neighboring towns are missing. In order for fall sports to be played safely, rigid rules and regulations are emerging and evolving daily.
The uncertainty of fall sports has put coaches and players optimistically preparing mentally and physically. Regardless of the changes, Staples athletes are desperate, anxious and excited for the season to begin. One of the boys’ track and cross country team captains, Jonathan Lorenz ’21, trains all year round to prepare for his seasons.
“The [cross country] team definitely went through an adjustment period at the beginning of the year, but after that, it slowly started to feel more and more like the team we had before COVID,” Lorenz said.
Dealing with these new guidelines is a new reality for all, and the cross country team has learned to embrace it.
“I’ve really enjoyed practice this year because of how much an outlet sports can be in such a hectic time,” Lorenz said.
On the other hand, contact sports have seen a different impact with not being able to play the sport the way it is typically played.
“Practices are always enjoyable even though [they are] not as competitive which is one thing missing,” Ian Tapsall, varsity field hockey coach, said. “It was somewhat frustrating, although we concentrated more on socially distanced conditioning and basic skills.”
Gaby Gonzalez ’22, captain of the girls’ varsity soccer team, feels that the current pandemic has definitely impacted them as well. The team is taking all practices seriously, and making sure not to take their season for granted.
“I have really enjoyed practices because it is a breath of fresh air just being back on the field with my teammates and practicing,” Gonzalez said.
All sports being put into small cohorts has also been a blessing in disguise for the teams.
“I have loved practicing in our seperate groups because it allowed me to build strong friendships with many different ages and levels of players,” Gonzalez said.
Girls’ varsity volleyball coach Jonathan Shepro agrees.
“It was an added bonus that we practiced in small groups,” Shepro said. “[Each group] consisted of girls from every class and skill level.”
Despite the challenging times, fall sports teams are still staying positive.
“It’s a different experience for sure,” Shepro said, “but we just make the most out of it.”