Fall sports teams push through season despite COVID difficulties

Fall sports teams have all had to make sacrifices in order to keep everyone healthy during COVID-19. By continuing to practice social distancing as much as possible and wearing masks when stationary, the teams are working to their best abilities to help in stopping the spread of the virus.  

Gone are some old sports traditions such as team meals and team bonding exercises in practice, but new routines create new memories. The meets and games are different, varying by the sport.  The cross country teams are all running in smaller groups and less people are able to participate in meets. Runners on the team wear masks on the bus and on the course, which women’s cross country coach Amanda Johnson said “has changed our appearance, but not our dedication and drive to get better every day.” Men’s cross country coach Scott Gall said, “We have not lost motivation to continue getting better.” 

Volleyball has also lost out on some of the togetherness aspect of team building due to COVID.  “We are missing out on some of the peripheral activities that we love to have and allow us to grow as a team.” Women’s volleyball coach Matthew Johnson said. The look of the game has been altered to follow CDC guidelines. The teams no longer switch sides or benches after a match, and, of course high fiving the opposing team is a no no.

Women’s swimmers have been able to find good changes throughout the pandemic in realizing the small things they have found to love. They have found ways outside of their old traditions to make them closer as a team.  

Men’s golfers have always wrestled with a mental game. Now due to the virus, golf coach Kenton Engels said, “the amount of details you have to hold in your head before events and while planning events is almost immeasurable to what it was before.” 

During all games there have been many changes for the players as well as for the people watching. For football specifically, all of the fans are to be socially distanced and are to have at least one seat in between each person.  Masks are also required at all times unless eating and drinking.   

The football team has had to practice with only ten to a pod when the game of football is eleven to a side. During games, every fourth down the teams are to take a “COVID timeout” and the footballs are to be sanitized. Overall the game of football has not changed much, they are keeping up their morals and keeping the motivation. Football coach Brad Remmert said “The game of football is still the same.  To be successful, you have to play fundamentally sound football which means doing the little things correctly all of the time.”

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