Game On!



A global pandemic took over our lives mid-March of 2020. One of the many activities that was cancelled is high school sports. Tryouts were paused, games were delayed, and the seasons took a standstill. As the 2020-2021 school year began, sports started coming back but there was a lot of uncertainty paired with the excitement. 

High school sports started later than hoped as many restrictions on sports and gyms were still in place. Many of our students here at UAIS longed for the wait of their fall season, hoping for a sense of normalcy in these troubled times. However, just because the season was on a standstill, that does not mean the preparation stopped, each sport having their own method of training. For cross country, runners completed various workouts to strengthen themselves and logged their runs using an app called “Strava” as noted by Sophomore Ava Rawley, a member of the Utica Cross Country team. Members of the girls’ swim team took similar preparations as the pools were not open for use. “During the delay… we ran dry lands: working out outside of the pool” mentions Junior Olivia Bowman, a member of the Eisenhower Swim team.  

This delay had an even larger effect on the seniors as they approached their final fall season as a high school student athlete. Doka Gorvokaj, one of sixteen seniors on the Henry Ford II Varsity soccer team, took advantage of the unfortunate situation and trained multiple times a week in order to be ready to for the season. He expressed that [Us seniors] were aware that our season could come to an end at any given moment, it was important that we made the most of this year.” Emotions were high but the athletes pushed through.  

Once the delay was over, these athletes continued to push through the hardships of modifications being made to the sports that they love. Each athlete mentioned the wearing of masks during practices and when competing against other schools. Additionally, the size of the crowds had to be minimized, sometimes even coming down to zero. Both Ava Rawley and Olivia Bowman had to experience meets without a crowd which bought no normalcy to the already bizarre seasonNot only did the size of the crowds have to be changed, but the size of the team! Swim is generally a no cut sport, yet Eisenhower Girls’ swim had to go from 50 girls to 25-30 so some girls did not even get the chance to compete this season.  

Overall, the athletes knew that although these accommodations were not fun, they increased the safety of everyone which made them feel better. The perspectives of these student athletes gives a good look into how much the coronavirus has affected our everyday lives yet, we can also continue to make the most out of it.