Fall Sports Have Returned!
As schools in California started closing due to COVID-19 in mid-March, sports were rapidly cancelled and have not been resumed in person yet, until now. On October 29th, Mayfair announced to student-athletes and parents that on November 9th, fall sports could come back together and condition again. These sports include football, cheer, volleyball, and cross country, who have all been conditioning through Google Meet and on their own for the majority of the 2020-2021 school year.
CIF-SS has been keeping everyone updated with their planning of how sports are going to be dealt with over the course of Covid-19. So far, their new calendar has been successful with pushing every sports’ season back further into the year. As a part of their September update, CIF stated, “As these workouts continue to take place at more and more of our member schools, and prove to be done successfully, that is certainly a positive step in the right direction,” which gives hope for a future of opportunity and positive change for sports. Although as of November 16th CIF is out of office because of the growth in Covid-19 cases, they are still working together to allow student-athletes to condition together and still follow through with specific guidelines to keep everyone safe.
To create a safe and healthy environment for sports to condition together, students must follow certain guidelines and rules. For example, each sport has their own section where they are allowed to condition and an entrance and exit, to make sure that more than one sport does not intertwine, and everyone has a certain time frame when they can enter and exit school for conditioning. Also, everyone must stay six feet a part at all times, and since athletes are going through with heavy exertion of energy, they are allowed to not have a mask on. Athletes are separated into “pods” of at most 14 who can condition together for the rest of the conditioning period.
Mayfair High School’s athletic director, Dennis Guerra, has congregated many parent and student athlete meetings to express the guidelines and future plans for fall sports return. He expressed his immediate opinion as “excited” and he hopes that soon, we will be able to begin traditional practices for each sport, specifically practices that focus on skills, technique, and tactics for each sport; not just conditioning. Overall, it has been a long journey to start up conditioning again and it has taken months for teachers and administrators to come up with a good plan that followed the state and country’s strict Coronavirus guidelines. After seeing sports condition at school, Guerra has a great feeling about how things are going. With coaches and athletes being excited and eager to go back, everyone wants to take the guidelines seriously and stay safe to prevent having to condition separately again.
From a student athletes’ perspective, many are all very excited to go back, but there is some diversity when talking about each one’s experience. From Football players specifically, junior Garet Sullivan expressed that he was grateful to see his teammates again, and his main desire right now is to put in effort and help the team do as well as possible when the season does start. In addition, junior Charlie Wooters says that he loves the fact that they can go back, see each other, get back in shape, and play a sport that they all love again. He and his teammates are all working towards the championship and achieving the goal of doing their best and putting in all of their effort.
Additionally, junior volleyball player Esther Kaliponi, said that she has been very happy about going back, growing closer to her teammates and coach, and staying in shape. Another junior varsity volleyball player, Ashlyn Riddle, explains that she has been very excited to go back even if it means that it is only conditioning. One goal she has is, “improving my skills and becoming the best version of myself possible.” Coming from two of the Cheer captains from Mayfair, Kyla Ash says, “it's a great way to start. We get to work on ourselves with our teammates, we all help each other out by pushing each other to do better.” To Kyla, being on campus means that they can build a stronger team and continue to represent Mayfair well. Senior Eden Geddes, another cheer captain, says that conditioning in person can be really helpful and provide some normality after experiencing so much over Google Meet, which is kind of boring and strange. This opportunity is also giving seniors a chance to have something to look forward to. Lastly, from two Cross Country runners’ perspectives, freshman Stella Lynch, expressed that conditioning will be very helpful to new runners such as herself who have not experienced being on the team in real life yet. Senior Nicolas Simon states, “Something I want to get out of going back would be the feeling of being a part of something. Psychologically, us humans are social creatures, so occasionally the prolonged feeling of isolation from groups we’re familiar with causes sadness, going back and practicing as a team would work wonders to counteract this.”
With CIF-SS bringing student athletes back into school to condition, it creates a positive look into the future of sports during Covid-19. Many athletes, coaches, schools, and more are excited about their return to in-person conditioning and are looking forward to what this might bring, and the opportunities that may be given. In a time full of despair and uncertainty, this return is giving a new light and hope to many students and families.