High School Sports Face Modified Return in the Face of COVID-19


Zachary Grover

The UC High Football Team practices at the stadium

Dean Ormsby, Opinions Editor

   High school athletes are currently making the long-awaited return to practice and game-play under unusual circumstances as COVID-19 restrictions ease. 

   Many sports, like boys volleyball, are preparing for their season on short notice. “[It was] a sudden start to the season. Within a matter of a week or two it went from ‘there’s no way we are having a season’ to ‘oh shoot this thing is actually happening.’ We had some time [to prepare] before our first game, but we did not expect to have a season,” said Senior Volleyball Athlete Trent Johnson.

   Senior Volleyball Athlete Leo Hurtado added, “The preparation feels a little rushed. Obviously, everyone is doing the best that they can, but the circumstances have made it difficult. We barely got news about tryouts starting a few weeks beforehand, so those on our team who weren’t expecting to play are out of shape.” 

    This season will also be quite different for all sports teams, as CIF and health officials have attempted to mitigate physical contact as much as possible to avoid the spread of COVID-19. “Compared to previous seasons, COVID-19 has caused a whirlwind of changes to volleyball from previous years. I would say the biggest change is adjusting to the lack of physical contact. There are no handshakes or super close huddles or even high-fiving the other team. The biggest challenge will just be keeping protocol and abiding by all the strict rules that are in place. Of course we are happy to abide by these rules if we get to have a season, but it will be an adjustment,” said Johnson.

   “We also have to realize that if any of us get COVID-19 then the season is essentially over for us, so we have to stay responsible and vigilant,” said Hurtado.

   For all sports, the need to share spaces with other sports has also made things more difficult. “Due to almost all of the indoor teams playing at the same time, [reserving] gym time is going to be tough. We have to be prepared for as short as 45 minute practices at random times throughout the afternoon,” said Johnson.

    Baseball is another sport that was cleared to play on short notice. “In some ways we were prepared, but in others, we were definitely not. Normally we play throughout the winter, which gives us lots of practice for the spring season, but we didn’t have that this year. Thankfully, most of us were practicing on our own, but it’s still not the same as having a winter season,” said Senior Baseball Athlete Juan Torres Chapa. 

   According to Senior Baseball Athlete James Engebretson, “Things have changed a lot for baseball. There’s no bags allowed in the dugout, and we can’t shake hands with the other team once the game is over. Obviously, we also have to wear masks at all times.”

   “Even with everything the way it is, we’re still playing baseball. We’re still able to compete, and the rules of the game haven’t really changed. It’s just the rules surrounding the game that are a little different,” said Torres Chapa.

   “The bottom line, though, is that we are just happy to be playing, and hopefully we can make something out of this season and end this school year on a good note,” said Johnson.