Competitive Sports Put on Hold

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©David M. Barron/oxygengroup.com

Gianni Thompson ’21 plays defense during a game last year . Photo by David Barron.

Brian Gamble

Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, the School made the decision to suspend fall interscholastic sports for the year.

This choice was made in accordance with many other institutions that are in the same athletic leagues as the School, who share similar concerns about safety and the risk of contact competitive sports presents.

In place of traditional sports, the School is offering alternative athletic activities, which allow students to stay active with a lower risk of exposure to the virus.

Though the activities are useful for those who wish to stay in shape, the cancellation of competitive sports may present challenges to students who rely on athletic seasons to garner college attention.

Assistant Athletic Director Tom Nelson, who coaches the Varsity I basketball team, has many players working hard for college offers. For some of the students, their chances of being recruited to play basketball in college have been significantly altered due to the possibility of a missed season.

“The effect of the pandemic is devastating,” Nelson said. “We haven’t been allowed to play in front of college coaches, and the coaches can’t come on campus or watch kids workout or play. The year before, we only had one live period where coaches could watch the players because of the college scandals going on, and this year with the pandemic there have been no chances to play at all.”

With the 11th-grade year possibly being the most pivotal time for student athletes hoping to earn scholarship offers, Nelson emphasized the impact a cancelled winter season on junior athletes, for whom this year has affected the most.

“2021 has definitely been hit the hardest,” Nelson explained. “They haven’t been able to see anyone with them play yet, so we really have to wait for 2022.”

With all the uncertainty and unavailability of competition, Nelson has been pushed to find alternatives for his players.

“There are workarounds. Videos have been put out and more live-streaming of things that are happening,” he shared. “If any workouts are going on, they’re being streamed and sent to colleges. There are also a lot more people reaching out and just asking information from those they trust.”

With no clear end of the pandemic in sight and sports restrictions still in place, it seems that competitive athletes will have to continue finding new opportunities to showcase their talents.