Photo courtesy of Bob Wallace, Jr.
Due to COVID-19 cancelling spring athletics last year and pushing back the fall and winter seasons this year, teams needed to find a way to improve without breaking COVID restrictions and also keeping players safe. With many WJ teams hoping to return to school and resume sports, many teams have decided to participate in off season practices and games with COVID restrictions.
Teams have decided to participate with restrictions including wearing masks at almost all times, keeping the best distance possible while playing and making sure players stay home if they have any symptoms.
Senior varsity baseball player Eli Bader appreciates that sports are back with restrictions.
“We have games and it’s a little different because we have to distance ourselves in the dugouts and masks have to be worn if you aren’t in the game but nothing really affects the play of the game,” Bader said.
Most players want to limit the virus as much as possible so they are able to play without restrictions in the near future.
“I believe that the restrictions are great as it limits the spread of the virus greatly while still allowing us to play,” Bader said.
Some teams have faced some difficulties with playing with restrictions.
“Lacrosse is a very physical sport so a lot of the time it’s very hard to maintain distance while playing,” senior Talie Tinker said.
Contact sports have a much harder time following COVID restrictions but have found ways to improvise.
“Many players on the team including myself wear a protective mask on our helmets to limit the spread while we are playing. They can get really annoying as they make it hard to see out of but I still think they are good because it makes it safe,” Tinker said.
Many fall teams, such as soccer, are doing their virtual seasons at the moment and are doing their best to keep up with the sport while on hold.
“A lot of the guys on the team are playing club soccer just so we have less rust when we return hopefully in March,” junior Noah Greenfeld said.
Even though these players aren’t playing with their WJ teams, the club leagues still have many COVID restrictions and precautions.
“We have to wear a mask on the sidelines, all the refs wear masks and we have to keep our distance when we are on the sideline. It definitely has a different feel when we are playing but I think it’s worth it being able to get on the field and play again,” Greenfeld said.
With sports scheduled to resume in February in a compacted season, teams are doing all that they can to stay sharp, so they are prepared to compete in 2021.