Coaches not playing games when it comes to keeping athletes safe

Josephine Piper, Staff Writer

Undoubtedly, Covid-19 will make it difficult to participate in sports this year. Every player is at risk of contracting the virus unless they take the proper measures to keep themselves and others safe.

This will not only affect the way we play this year, but it may also change how the way sports are played entirely. Many coaches are preparing their teams for the upcoming athletic season. 

There are preparations underway to make sure to follow the guidelines to keep everyone coaches and athletes safe. Various measures are being taken to allow for the continuation of sports once again. 

Coach Caplin, PBC swim coach, shared that all sports would not start again if there were any big risks to doing so.

“This year, with Covid, many challenges have been presented,” said Coach Caplin. “Not only is our program restricted by Palm Beach School District requirements, but also the Village of Wellington as we utilize their pool.”

However, with challenges come solutions.  The swim team has adapted to practice with only four swimmers per lane, with two starting at different ends of the pool.  This keeps the athletes a safe distance away from each other.  Furthermore, divers are practicing with four divers per board, again keeping social distance.  

Competition provides another challenge. The limit was set to only 25 swimmers per team on the pool deck. The normal schedule was changed, too: divers will dive before the swimmers show up to the pool; once the divers are finished, they will leave the facility.  

Swimmers will pick up their event cards from a folder, instead of a coach.  No parents will be allowed on the pool deck except to help run the meet.  

“Again, it’s not ideal,” outlined Coach Caplin. “But, this year’s motto has to be safety first.” 

Even with the new steps to protect teams, some students are worried about going back to playing sports because they fear the risk of catching Coronavirus. Students have voiced their opinions about returning to competing or not. 

“I’d rather continue to stay fit at home, everything that we would be doing at school, we can do from home, in a safe, Covid-19 free environment,” said Central swim team member Evalyn Gonzalez. “Although I miss my friends and having fun at practice and competing, I feel it’s better to wait until this whole thing settles down a little more. I don’t think it’s worth the risk to participate in sports this year, sports will always be around, and it’s okay to take time off to make sure that there aren’t as many people at risk.” 

Gonzalez encourages athletes to continue to stay in shape and ready to start their seasons at any time.

“As long as you’re making sure to stay fit and prepared for the season when everything is better,” shared Gonzalez.  “Then, there should not be a problem with taking off a little time to stay safe.“

Other students prefer to do school sports in person. They feel ready and feel prepared to follow all of the guidelines to make sure they stay safe and make sure nobody around them gets sick either.  Noah Isaacson from the boy’s lacrosse team completely loves the idea of being able to participate in sports again. 

“Our coach is doing a lot to keep us safe, and we have been doing so much to keep a distance from each other,” mentioned Isaacson. “All of our practices have been fun, but we’ve been making sure to be safe at the same time. It’s much better for me to be able to leave my house and be able to go and participate in sports with my friends.”

However, it can be scary for those who are worried about the virus. While athletes are following procedures and keeping everyone without harm from the virus, this pandemic has affected so many things. Sports will definitely be played differently for the next few years to guarantee that we aren’t at risk of contracting anything.