Mask up and play on

Face coverings are required in order for fall sports to continue

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Cheryl Kramolisch

Junior Ava Rongisch and senior Madi Warren look up at each other while wearing a mask. They stood on the softball field getting ready to play. “When it is hot out, the gator mask does get pretty sweaty,” junior Ava Rongisch said. “Also, when we are done running and have to put up our mask it makes it a little hard to breathe. We all know it’s for our safety.”

Camille O'Neill, Staff Reporter

COVID-19 has impacted every part of our lives, including high school sports. In March, the NSAA canceled all spring sports because they felt it wasn’t safe to play them. They didn’t know a lot about the virus at the time.

 They don’t want fall athletes to go through the same experiences spring athletes did, especially those who are seniors. In order for fall sports to happen, the Nebraska School Activities Association stated that masks would have to be worn at all times. In addition to players and coaches wearing masks, spectators who attend events also have to wear masks at all times. The NSAA made their decision based on the CDC guidelines. The CDC recommends people over 2 years old should wear masks at all times in public places to stop the spread. 

Masks are required at all times when athletes are practicing or playing. Some athletes are okay with wearing masks, as long as they get to play. Each athlete can have six family members attend, and they have to wear masks, too. Some athletes are okay with wearing masks. 

“It’s not as bad as you think,” junior varsity softball player Ava Rongisch said. “We wear gator masks, so it hangs around our neck, and we put it up on our nose when we are in the dugout or in a huddle.”

Playing with masks presents some physical challenges that athletes wouldn’t usually have. Oftentimes, the sounds are muffled through a mask. When an athlete sweats or gets hot, the athlete sometimes gets out of breath. 

“It makes it harder to breathe, sometimes you might get light headed,” senior varsity volleyball player Bridget Smith said. “It makes it harder to hear each other on the court.”

What COVID-19 does not change, according to some athletes, is the camaraderie of the team. They are still able to make friendships that last a lifetime.

“We are still the same team that we have always been,” Smith said. “COVID-19 doesn’t really affect how we play or our friendships and trust on the team.”

Another thing that’s different this season is not being able to shake hands after games. Athletes wave to show respect for the other team instead of shaking hands. This is a hard concept because they could have friends on the other team that they could usually give a hug. 

“Yes, not going all the way up to the net and having to stop at the ten foot line and wave is definitely a big difference,” junior varsity volleyball player Sadie Millard said. “I loved being able to high five people I knew on the other team.”

Athletes are definitely excited  to be back on the field again after not being able to play in the spring. They missed all of the time spent with their friends who are on their team. They also missed the opportunity to get better every day.