How COVID-19 Is Affecting School Sports?

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C. Elwell

Home of the Lindenhurst Bulldogs

Chris Elwell, Staff Writer

A large extent of high school kids look forward to playing school sports. But now that COVID has prevented this from happening and forced school sports to be delayed, it can be hard for some kids to focus on school. For some high schoolers, sports are the only reason that they are even somewhat interested in school.  Sports may provide an escape for them and let them just play what they love without having to worry about anything else.

While it would be great if things could just go back to normal, you can’t help but think about all of the precautions that must be taken first before games and practices could take place again. The global pandemic got its name for a reason, and while it was a good idea to cancel all spring sports last year, the same plan may not work again this year. The people who are responsible for making these decisions are working very hard to give kids that chance again to represent their school.  

With the fall and winter seasons now being delayed, there are additional issues placed on the students. The people in charge of making the plans for Section XI may be forced to combine certain seasons that normally are during different seasons. For the kids who play more than one sport throughout the school year, it could mean that they are unable to continue playing a sport that they love.

This has been a very hard time for teenagers with all that has happened over the past few months, and school sports may be a step in the right direction to help kids get back to normal. A sense of normalcy would do wonders for high school kids because they might be the generation that has been most affected by this whole pandemic. When asked about how the delaying of the seasons will affect athletes, senior Louis Peluso said, “Yeah, it’s definitely tough for me along with all other multi sport athletes. Speaking for myself, as long as we are able to make each season happen, even if it requires a little more work for our student athletes, we’re ready to do whatever it takes to play without having to make the choice between fall or spring sports.” It’s going to be tough for the athletes to adjust to having these seasons overlapped, but these determined athletes will find a way to make it work.

This pandemic has affected everyone in more ways than they expected it to, and school sports has taken a massive hit. Schools are losing funding for sports, which could eventually lead to permanently cutting the program. According to Newsday, schools in NY could lose as much as 20% in state aid.  “Any budget crunch could mean cuts to sports because sports spending is discretionary and not mandated,” said Pat Pizzarelli, executive director of Section VIII, which governs high school sports in Nassau County. “It could have all kinds of ramifications from losing sports to not fielding a JV to forcing a school to raise money so athletic programs aren’t affected. I hope the federal government comes through and these things don’t have to be considered.”  This affects not only the current student athletes, but the ones in years to come because they may never know what it’s like to represent their school and their town. 

In addition to affecting their daily lives, the shut down of sports affects the future of athletes as well.  Fall is a time where some juniors and seniors may be in the process of visiting colleges. However, now that schools are shut down, it is hard for them to prepare for their future. Also, for the kids who want to continue their athletic careers in college, it is so much harder now to be seen by coaches and teams. 

As of right now, it will be tough to say when every sport will have their season, if they will be at all, but if they do, there is almost a guarantee that it will not be how it has been in previous years. Many precautions will be taken to assure the safety of everyone involved, but that process could quickly become complex and difficult. Hopefully, these questions will be answered soon, and we will be able to let the kids play.