Athletes debate returning to sports this year


courtesy of Libby Bondi

Junior Libby Bondi (center) and her friends celebrate the end of a successful 2019 soccer season.

Lizzie Stone, Staff Writer

Many private sports teams have started up despite the quarantine, hoping for a normal season after being cut short last spring. However, teams still played with added safety measures so that players would feel comfortable about returning.

“I played club in the summer with precautions,” senior and lacrosse player Emily Young said. “We would wear a mask in between games. Then when fall came around I did club again.”

The state released guidelines on ways to distance and sanitize equipment, and many travel teams rushed to take the field as restrictions were lifted. 

“COVID-19 affected my decision to play by making me a little worried, but the referees and coaches helped by changing up the game for us to be safer,” Young said.

Other players are choosing not to return due to their fears about safety. High profile sporting events such as the Ohio State-Michigan game were cancelled as players got sick despite every precaution. Although they help, safety precautions cannot eliminate the risk returning players will face.

“I decided not to try to go back because it seemed like it was getting risky,” senior Wesley Green said. “Getting covid would put me in a bad situation and could stop me from playing basketball in the future. I was also worried that I could bring it back to my family.”

Some precautions such as the social distancing requirements took away the spirit of the game. Restrictions took away traditions as simple as a high-five after winning a game.

 Junior Libby Bondi decided not to play on a private team despite missing her sport. 

“It’s been weird to not play this year,”  Bondi said. “Getting up early and going to games is all gone.”

Changes to CYA league rules included no sharing of equipment, masks required at all times, and limited contact allowed between players during practices. Despite these changes, Bondi doesn’t feel comfortable returning. 

“It’s important to stay active during quarantine but that shouldn’t be at the expense of peoples’ safety,” Bondi said. “There are safer ways to exercise.”

Even though these alterations lower contact, they also limit the players themselves. Social distancing is required while off the field, so players can’t huddle to talk about the game or critique each other.

If you do wear a mask, it’s incredibly difficult to breathe while you’re running,” Green said. “Even if everyone was required to wear a mask, I probably wouldn’t play because it seems like a hassle. I’d rather play myself or with my family than have to wear a mask and sprint up and down the court with a bunch of other people.”

Other athletes disagree about the danger of sports. Some feel participants are being cautious enough to keep each other safe.

“I think playing sports is a big risk, but not the main risk factor of COVID-19,” Young said. “If you are playing we are required to fill out a new COVID-19 form every tournament we go to, and they take our temperatures before, which makes me feel safer.”

Chantilly sports teams are beginning to return and will continue to play through the spring, if the school decides conditions are safe enough. Teams may not have a full roster due to some students not feeling safe, but many feel comfortable enough to return.

“I plan on playing if we have a season, but I don’t expect it to be the same,” Young said. “I expect to have a lot of precautions but I really hope we get to have a season.”