by Lucy Castellanos
Throughout the past couple months, the athletic world has been forced to adapt to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19. The burning question in everyone’s mind was, “Should athletes be able to play in the midst of a global pandemic?” On one hand, sports like tennis, golf, and swimming require no contact among players, so there was very little expectation that these sports seasons would be cancelled. However, many soccer, field hockey, football, and cross country players held their breath as the Ohio High School Athletic Association made the decision to either allow these sports to have a season or not. Hathaway Brown has made many efforts to ensure the safety of their athletes as we battle through these shocking circumstances. Temperature and symptom checks became a requirement that all athletes completed upon arrival to a practice. Those that traveled out of state to red zone COVID areas needed to quarantine for two weeks when they returned. The inability to predict the course of the virus caused many setbacks and obstacles to become inevitable.
A day prior to the first varsity and junior varsity soccer game, a heartbreaking email was sent out to the players and coaches. Stacey Aroney wrote, “We have been notified that an adult member of our Upper School soccer team coaching staff has tested positive for COVID-19.” This was quite a difficult situation to fathom for every member of the soccer team. Many players, overrun with anger and frustration, had to learn to cope with the fact that their season was postponed another two weeks. The identity of the individual that had contracted COVID was kept secret for privacy reasons, which was understandable—those that are infected with this virus should have the privacy to deal with their illness without people blaming and bombarding them for answers.
Although the athletic world has suffered a major setback, each and every athlete found the strength to withstand these circumstances. Many students expressed their opinions on the effects that corona had on the athletic community:
COVID has definitely affected our season, but I am just so glad that we still have a season.Liliana Parsons (soccer)
It’s different, but still the same. It’s been quite an adjustment, but it’s been a great experience playing a new sport given the circumstances.Miranda Pace (soccer)
It’s been an interesting adjustment because we have to wear masks all the time. It’s heartbreaking that we can’t do as many things as we normally can during our season.Paige Perry (field hockey)
The actual sport hasn’t really changed, like passing and hitting the ball, but the emotion coming from it has. My whole JO (club volleyball) season last year ended early, which was very annoying and heartbreaking because so many people put their time, effort, and money into something only for it to shut down. But this season for high school volleyball has been surprisingly fun because nothing really changed or impacted our season. We only need to wear masks during warmups and when we’re not playing.Carmella Muresan (volleyball)
We don’t have as many spectators at meets, which makes it harder to run because you don’t have the same amount of encouragement. Also, corona has impacted our ability to become closer as a team.Molly Castellanos (cross country)
Going into soccer season, I knew it would be different and more challenging from the past three seasons I’ve had at HB. Corona has changed the soccer environment—from being six feet apart in warmups, to no team dinners or activities, to not even being able to ride the bus to away games. I think our team has been doing a great job adjusting to these changes and keeping a positive mindset, even though everything we do normally during soccer season has changed.Bridget Kennedy (soccer senior)
Like most sports, our tennis season was up in the air for a while, so I’m grateful that we were able to have a safe, successful season. By nature, tennis is already very socially-distanced, so there wasn’t much change in the matchplay itself. However, when we had matches, the home and away teams had separate sets of balls, there was a distinguished “score flipper” on the changeovers, doubles teams did racquet-touches instead of high-fives, and masks were worn when we weren’t playing.Ally Mills (tennis)
Overall, as field hockey, tennis, soccer, volleyball, and cross country enter their postseason, every athlete is beyond grateful that they were able to enjoy their fall athletic seasons.