New regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have a major impact on the experience of being a high school athlete. Even though the school district granted permission for on campus activities, in order maintain safety, many new and unfamiliar rules are being placed. From football to cheer, and even marching band, many students are seeing great changes in the way they train and rehearse together.
Lamar coaches, directors, and football players have taken precautions in their own hands to deal with the spread of the virus. Varsity football player Jay Brown worries about games getting canceled and getting to show brotherhood towards his teammates.
“Covid impacted our summer workouts. Instead of using the gym one week, we had to do our workouts in bench press outside on the turf,” says Brown. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible, even if you—or they—do not have any symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. On game days they are required to stand on an orange dot on the sidelines to spread apart.
Coaches made rearrangements during practice to practice social distancing with the players. Players now are required to provide their own water bottles, wear a mask at all times, take temperatures before they enter the building, and etc.
“We have daily check ups to see if we have any symptoms, our temperatures are taken everyday before we get into the MAC, masks are required, hands are sanitized at any possible place. Things like that help prevent it,” says Brown. It is important to the team that everyone does their part, so many can stay safe.
When someone on another team or on the team catches the virus, the games are automatically cancelled. The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
“This week we’ve had people miss out due to the risk of being sick, or coming into contact with someone who is sick. We’ve definitely had people miss out on certain things, and that may have hurt them individually, but everyone is aware, you know? People aren’t willing to hug on someone or show affection.” says Brown.
The traditional sports teams are not the only ones adjusting during these times. In the past years, the marching band program has been promoting the idea of teamwork and unity as a way to help students achieve their goals in performances and competitions, but this year they’re aiming for everyone to be separate and distanced to stay safe for any virus. Upon arriving to rehearsals, students are told to pre-screen for Covid symptoms including cough, headache, fever over 100°F, or recent contact with anyone who has tested positive. All students are required to have masks on at all times, except when playing an instrument, and have assigned spots where they stay six feet apart at all time.
“We always stay six feet apart from each other and no one is allowed to touch one another, even high-fives aren’t allowed,” said Aditi Patel, senior and President of the Lamar Band. “We don’t gather together during our breaks like last year, we just sit in our spots or the practice field so its a very different feeling.”
The performances of the band changed a lot as well, with many competitions cancelled and members decreasing. When they cheer on the football team, they remain in the stands with lots of distance between each other. With a much smaller audience in the crowd, the band holds much more responsibility in terms of raising enthusiasm throughout the stadium or field.
“We play similar stand tunes like we have in the past and try to make the games as fun as always,” said Patel “We still work hard to prepare for our UIL competitions.”
Even with everything going on, the band and the football team continue to say motivated during the season and are prepared to tackle any obstacles that come their way.
“Every season brings new challenges, and every year you’re supposed to be motivated to the full extent that you can be,” says Brown. “Every year we work together as a team, and that’s what we’re prepared to do this year,”
Luis Villegas and Jordan Patterson contributed to this story.