(Photo by Mrs. Rondeau)
As we all know, COVID has had a huge impact on not only school but social interactions and extracurricular activities. Sports, for example, have been almost completely changed. As we look deeper, however, we can discover not only challenges but new opportunities for staying connected.
Many things changed in girls basketball as with other sports. From conditioning on zoom to a shortened season, the players have found ways to maintain a season while still practicing safety guidelines. To obtain a better understanding of just how much has been altered, I interviewed Elizabeth Levine from class of 2022. She is on junior varsity and has been at the forefront of many challenges that sports have presented.
The first topic that she brought to light was how happy the players are to be back. “My teammates and I are so happy to be back,” she states. “For a lot of us, basketball is one of the only things keeping us sane during COVID. Even with masks, we enjoy bus rides, playing games, and having practice with each other.” She also applauds the coaches and athletic directors for the work they have been doing to keep the season running. Furthermore, what can be said about sports during COVID is that things have altered, however having teammates there with you can make things easier.
Aside from the team itself, I brought up the next topic of safety protocol. Elizabeth states, “At first, it was very hard wearing a mask and playing at the same time, but I think our bodies have adjusted pretty well to them. We sanitize during games and practices as well. Although we had to quarantine for the first week in March, everyone was committed to the zoom calls for practice at 4 pm every night during the week.” She mentions that there is a wellness form to be filled out before every practice or game, similar to the wellness checks in school. This goes to show the obstacles COVID may create. Another one of these challenges is fans. Elizabeth agreed that fans are an important part of playing. “We miss our fans! I think I can speak for everyone including my teammates and coaches when I say that the vibes are just different; the fans bring the energy into the gym. Parents are allowed to attend home games, but it’s still not the same.”
She also brings up how the team is staying connected with each other and playing better together as a result. The team also participates in a conditioning program over the summer, and EOS player Isa Peczuh has helped with the emotional state of the team. “Isa Peczuh had created a group for which we made advancements in our mental states. To stay connected, we had weekly zoom calls with the team to talk about the conditioning program.” Elizabeth adds. “It’s a short season, yet our hard work has paid off.”
All in all, the team has been successful in staying together and getting the right mindset for this year. Despite all the obstacles COVID presented, they were still able to stay connected and play together.
Editor’s Note: This story was written for the Panther Press in the spring of 2021.