How Winter Sports Athletes Overcame Their Season

Cora Ely, Staff Reporter

For Ally Cassell, this winter sports season was unlike any of her other sports seasons so far in her life. This season she had to overcome a handful of changes.

“This season was massively different from previous seasons,” junior Ally Cassell said. 

Cassell plays on the girl’s basketball team. She and many other athletes had to overcome a shortened season, mask wearing, no spectators, no locker rooms and staying 6 feet apart from her teammates while off the court. These were just some of the COVID-19 restrictions that the state of Virginia put in place for winter sports.

  “The whole season felt weird,” junior Andrew Gingras, a wrestler, said. “ Things that were seen as normal we weren’t able to do anymore,”

 One of the biggest changes was the lack of spectators. No one was allowed in the gym other than the necessary people like players, coaches and refs. This change was put in place for the safety of the spectators and athletes.

“Not having spectators was definitely weird,” basketball player senior Kate Brennan said. “I missed being able to see my parents and my grandparents after every game.”

Other than the disappointment of family members having to watch their children’s and grandchildren’s games online and not in person, there was also a certain energy that was missing from games when no spectators were there cheering the athletes on.

“They were always a lot of fun to have at games and gave us players an extra energy boost,” sophomore Jack Thorton said. 

Another controversy was if athletes and coaches should have to wear masks at all times. The Virginia High School League said that it won’t require any players in Virginia to wear masks, but Loudoun County later said that in order for the winter sports season to continue, mask wearing is mandatory. 

“It was very different with having to wear masks and be far apart from each other at all times,”  cheerleader Megan Shehann said. Shehann is on the cheer team. This was difficult for each winter sports team, but soon enough, the players adapted to the constraint of wearing masks.

“The masks were tough in the beginning because we weren’t used to them and it was really hard to breathe when you were running,” Cassell said. “After a few weeks though, it just became like second nature and it really wasn’t that bad.”

Even with all of these difficult obstacles, these student athletes persevered and still managed to have their seasons and find success. 

“Despite all of the changes, this was the best season ever,” Brennan said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to play my last season with.”