Courtesy of Chad Addison
With COVID-19 still going on, sports continue to practice following guidelines and still try to overcome difficulties. On average, there are three seasons: fall, winter and spring, with some sports having to be delayed for this year. Along with the delays arises barely any prominent competitions, which has been a controversial topic as some players can’t display the skills that they have trained in past years.
“For our kids, I know they’re losing out on something that is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Athletics Director Chad Addison noted. “I’ve talked to some of our student-athletes, and they’re hopeful, but they’re also disappointed and ready for us to get back to normal.”
However, there is a demographic by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF Sports CV-19 Guidelines 1.12.21) which labels counties based on their spread of COVID-19. As of January 12, Orange County remains in the highest tier: the purple tier, meaning widespread. With this in mind, only a certain number of sports—such as Cross Country, Golf, Swimming and Diving—can play and possibly have small competitions. Unless this changes, sports such as Football, Wrestling and Basketball wouldn’t be able to compete as normally.
“I can’t guarantee that without things getting better with COVID that we’re going to see all of our sports having competitions. Our district personnel and coaches are coming up with ideas and trying to work through providing something this year for our student-athletes,” Addison explained.
One significant sport that is delayed this year is Track and Field. On average, Track and Field would start training at the start of February. As of this year, it starts at the beginning of March. There are about 160 people in the sport so respecting rules is at a much higher priority.
“The big thing with the COVID regulations is that you can’t have more than 20 athletes in a group at one time,” says Head of Track and Field, Scott Schepens. “Any equipment that is touched has to then be cleaned.”
Due to Track and Field being one of the sports that can compete in the purple tier, there will be more minor competitions, such as dual meets. However, significant competitions are what most students look forward to. Whether it be cheering their friends on during races or competing themselves.
“Usually what happens in track is you have a lot of weekend events and a lot of camaraderie and fun. We’re allowed to do track meets, but I don’t know right now how that’s going to look like. Normally, track events are kind of like a county fair. There’s parents and kids from both teams everywhere and it’s always this enjoyable atmosphere,” Schepens remarks.
Other physical activities can practice such as Color Guard and Marching Band. In the fall season, there were unfortunately no key performances from Marching Band. Though practices have changed with using certain ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to make it a safer place to practice.
“The district is having us wear special music masks that have an opening in the middle for the mouthpiece to go in, or they pull down their mask between reps,” Director of Instrumental Music, Andy Waldukat noted. “They started some research in the summer and the National Association of Music Education along with other research organizations started a multi-part study to understand aerosol spray. The district looked at those studies and decided what the protocols for our district will be.”
Respecting protocols involves innovation. Often, they would record themselves performing at small concerts. In concert band and orchestra, they used an app called BandLab. As for Marching Band, there was no exploration of apps and they just used the basic video.
“Nothing about our situation is ideal. We just have to adapt and make the best of it because the alternative is what we did the first semester and we just weren’t allowed to play our instruments in person,” Waldukat concluded.
Unless things change drastically, new regulations will still be continuously made and competitions will still be decided. The sports keep their heads high and hope any changes that can return them to normalcy.