Athletics During A Pandemic

Anna Halmeaho

This year, due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, school sports have been postponed. At Leigh, some athletic programs such as Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football and Water Polo, and Tennis are just a few of the sports that have begun. Golf (both girls and boys), Tennis (both), Baseball, Softball, Track & Field, Swim & Dive, Badminton, Boys Volleyball, Wrestling (both), Soccer (both), Basketball, are all starting to receive gear and play games in April and May. Water polo is so far the only sport that’s season has ended and all other sports have started their tryouts during their official day on March 22nd, but several already held workouts since February. Nonetheless, what exactly determines which programs were safe to start? 

State officials who have worked with the California Dept. of Public Health have provided the state of California with different colored tiers on Feb. 19th. If not already familiar, the Purple Tier includes sports that take place outdoors and are low contact: Badminton (singles), Cross country, Golf, Martial arts (no contact), and Physical training programs (yoga, Zumba, etc.). The Red Tier includes outdoor moderate-contact sports like Badminton (doubles), Baseball, Cheerleading, Field hockey, Lacrosse (girls), and Tennis (doubles). The orange tier includes outdoor high and low contact sports: Basketball (high), Football, Soccer, Water polo, Badminton  singles (low), Curling, Swimming and diving, Tennis singles, track, and field. Finally, indoor moderate to high contact sports are Cheerleading, Volleyball, and Boxing/wrestling, are a few sports part of the Yellow Tier.

Onto the mask requirements, according to Mercury News, “Almost anyone during any youth sports activity will be required to wear a face covering. Coaches must be masked at all times, as well as any participants 9 years or older.” This is true. However, now the rules vary depending on the sport. For example, in girls tennis, the coach is required to wear a mask at all times, but one is optional for players during gameplay. Even though it is a choice for them, it’s still best to wear a mask. As the saying goes, ‘Better safe than sorry!’

I understand that some or many athletes may be disappointed because of these slight restrictions, but it’s for the better. Think about it, if no one decided to wear a mask, it would be highly likely many or everyone in the team would contract the coronavirus. 

As an athlete myself, I understand this feeling of annoyance. It’s incredibly hard to breathe in a mask during practices and games. They sometimes slip down too. However, despite these challenges, we need to keep going so that we all can continue playing sports safely and enjoyably!

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