With the start of high school sports being moved to December 28th (As of WIAA’s most recent calendar change on October 21st) due to covid, it is no surprise that they need a pre-sign up for them to get a headcount for how many students will be participating. There was a petition signed by a lot of students around Washington to have Gov. Inslee change the sports start dates and the safety regulations to fit the Covid precautions to allow the seasons to begin when school started.
This petition failed to have that happen, but we could hear from Inslee and more importantly the WIAA about an earlier start than before if cases continue going down in our state. The WIAA has been given the lead on deciding how/when sports start, but this is all under the regulations that Gov. Inslee’s office and the Washington Department of Health released about returning to sports and activities. The WIAA’s hope is that with their new plan, cases will stay level or not rise, yet we can still enjoy the sport season start to finish. As of October 6th, the WIAA’s return to play guidelines have put sports into “Risk Categories”, which go from low (tennis, swimming and diving, golf, cross country, track and field, and sideline/no-contact cheerleading and dance), moderate (softball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and bowling), and high risk (football, wrestling, cheerleading with contact, dance with contact, and basketball). The high risk sports have much tighter regulations and restrictions than those in the low risk all due to the amount of possible contact that comes with the sport.
The goal for this early signup is to let coaches know their possible turnout come season start, but also allow them to get in contact with players and get information out. The cross country coach has been releasing workouts and planning zoom meetings to begin preparing the students who plan on being there at the start of the season. It will be interesting if students ever get the chance to go back into classrooms how it will affect the sports being brought back. Or if sports come back before students are even back in classrooms, if that will halt the process of classrooms being used again. Only time will tell. But in the meantime, sports hopefully coming back will bring us closer to normal and a better sense of community once again.
The spring sports season during last school year was cancelled at the same time as the introduction of online learning, and sports have still been postponed till early January per the WIAA. I spoke with a junior on the Bothell Football Team, Adam Smith (‘22), about what players have been doing during this pause of sports. I asked about how football itself has been altered, and Adam said, “There has been more time to workout and prepare for when the season does come back, but it has affected all players, especially seniors, on their chances of colleges actually watching them play.” He also wasn’t sure when practices might come back, unless when the season starts is when practices start. There was lifting and conditioning before school was moved online in March, thus postponing the return of those activities at school.
The hope with pushing the sports later into the school year this time around is to presumably have Covid cases down. Yet having sports later increases the chance of students back in school around that time, which would introduce a higher chance of cases rising yet again.