Will I be able to further myself athletically? How will I continue my athletic career in college? Will I be able to obtain my athletic credits to graduate? These are questions many student-athletes ponder when entering a life-altering school year. With the current pandemic, academics and athletics look differently this year. The school has now made it possible for students to participate in athletics, but what about athletics outside of school?
For basketball players at Flint Hill, students would attend virtual strength and conditioning Google Meets to prepare for the season. It would consist of a series of workouts that targeted muscles and skills needed for the sport. Flint Hill sophomore Cole Clark said, “the virtual workouts were great preparation for the basketball season ahead.” As for basketball outside of school, athletes are doing more hands-on training. Clark mentioned that his AAU team has been meeting in-person, starting in late June, for several practices. At the beginning of each practice, Clark and the rest of his teammates have their temperature taken to ensure everyone is safe. Once they have entered the building, they are allowed to remove their masks in order for the players to play at their full potential. In an interview with Clark, he said, “I appreciate being able to play with my teammates again and I feel I am making more progress in person than I would online.”
Not only are basketball teams meeting in person, but so are volleyball teams. As for volleyball players at Flint Hill, there have not been any virtual or physical practices. Players are expected to condition and train despite the lack of practice at school. Through an interview with sophomore Sydney Bryant, who plays on the Flint Hill varsity volleyball team, I learned that club teams are continuing to practice physically. Bryant is a part of the Metro Volleyball Club of DC and is on a 16’s travel team. She describes the environment as “safe and conscious of the current state of the world.” Each one of Bryant’s practices outside of school includes a temperature check before she enters the building. Once she is inside the building, she practices several drills and different skills necessary for a successful volleyball player. All players must keep their masks on the entire practice to ensure the safety of all the players. After asking Sydney what she missed about practicing in-person earlier during the pandemic, she said, “I missed seeing my friends and witnessing the comradery among my teammates.”
Alongside basketball and volleyball players, soccer players are also meeting outside of school. Marvin Forbes is a junior varsity soccer player for Gonzaga College High School. In discussing athletics outside of school, he said that Gonzaga has yet to hold practices on campus, but they have held several workouts for student-athletes. The procedure to keep everyone safe who attends the workouts is for everyone to have their temperature scanned and for everyone to wear masks while inside the building. Forbes has yet to participate in workouts at his school since athletes from every sport are invited to partake in this opportunity. He is more comfortable joining his club soccer team for physical practices since there are fewer people in attendance. As for Forbes’ club soccer team, athletes have been meeting physically since the start of the season. Players are required to wear masks but do not have their temperature taken. Forbes said, “I wish there were an extra level of safety when participating in athletics in person.” He worries some of his teammates are not as cautious when it comes to the pandemic.
Overall, it seems most club sports teams are continuing to gather, despite the current state of the world. Fortunately, these teams are taking the necessary precautions to keep the athletes safe. Athletes can be put at ease when they wonder how they will continue their athletic careers during these life-altering times. With the help of club teams, athletes can pursue their athletic dreams.