The road back: winter student athletes return to athletics

Bryana Quick, Staff Writer

Students athletes are able to return to practices on January 16th 2021, but there is a “practice only” restriction in place for contact sports until February 21. This hasn’t stopped athletes from being filled with hope – and apprehension – for the season ahead. 

“I feel like returning to practice is gonna have it’s good aspects and possibly some bad,” said sophomore Baylee Wilk, who is on the varsity competitive cheer team. Many others feel the same way. There have been a countless number of athletes who feel unready or on edge knowing they will be returning to their sport.

“It feels nice that we are able to go back to our sports, but the risk is still there no matter what we do,” says freshman Jackson Laskarides, who plays on the freshman boys basketball team. “Being smart and using the guidelines 100% of the time is how we will combat the pandemic, but also play the game we love.”

Even with the guidelines, which include mask wearing and social distancing, some athletes are taking additional steps to keep themselves safe, including bringing hand sanitizer in their gym bags and sanitizing before and after every water break. Athletes are also encouraged to take their temperatures before practice. 

As the date approaches of students going back to games, athletes are working on getting more rest, eating better, staying hydrated, practicing and catching up on any school work so they can restart this season with a clean slate. Freshman Connor Hogan, a member of the wrestling team, said he is “super excited to return. I’ve been working twice a day for the last like 8 months preparing for this season.”

Senior Jace Whintly, who plays on the varsity basketball team, is happy to be back doing what he loves. “I’m very excited to return back to sports. With it being my senior year I wish we could have had a normal season but because of what’s going on we just have to roll with it,” he says. “I am very happy I get the opportunity to play with my team one last time because I am going off to college.” 

As of right now, games are set to resume Feb. 21, but the governor has said that they may be moved up “weeks or days” as Michigan’s coronavirus numbers continue to improve.