Continuation of fall sports offers athletes a sense of normalcy

Success of the season requires adherence to guidelines


Kate Schneider

As a swimmer, I was waiting impatiently alongside other fall sport athletes to hear the fate of our season. I was not feeling hopeful, since the start of the school year was planned to start all online. So, when The Minnesota State High School League announced on Aug. 4 that fall sports, except for girls’ volleyball and boys’ football would continue, it was great news. While I am disappointed that the season will not be normal. I am grateful for the opportunity to practice and socialize with my teammates and friends. 

Individual sports including swimming and cross country are some of the activities that can easily be adjusted to accommodate the requirements of The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL). For team sports, it is a much more difficult decision to make because of the close contact players have with each other. Postponing volleyball and football to the spring was a smart decision, despite the initial disappointment and anger I imagine the players must have felt. In the long run, it will keep many people healthy and safe. Depending on the state of the virus in the spring, it could allow for a better season.

Although the decision to postpone certain sports was made with the players’ best interests in mind, according to The Echo, athletes have been prepping for the season at their club practices all summer and now that has gone to waste. This was another demoralizing announcement for students among many other cancellations and changes made in the past few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We had no idea what the fall season would look like until less than two weeks before practices were scheduled to start, leaving coaches and players confused with little time to make the necessary adjustments. It has been difficult since practices started on Aug. 17 because we are learning how things work as we go. For swimming specifically, there are swimmers at both ends of the pool, which is not how it usually is and this has made communication difficult for the coaches. But, I am hopeful that as the season progresses, we will all become more accustomed to the new normal, meaning practices and competitions will go smoother.

Recently, teens have become one of the biggest groups of those infected with COVID-19, according to The Minnesota Department of Health, which leads to the worrisome possibility that athletes will not follow social distancing guidelines both in and out of their sport. The MSHSL allowed sports to continue this fall and gave us guidelines to keep everyone safe. But, it is up to athletes and coaches to adhere to these rules so a few irresponsible people do not ruin the season for the rest of us. 

Overall, I am beyond grateful to have a senior season for my sport. I am hopeful that everyone will make the most out of the less than ideal circumstances, and that we will be able to finish our season.