How COVID-19 Changed High School Sport Seasons


Cheerleaders at their socially-distanced practice on September 25, 2020. Photo courtesy of Amanda Quieroz.

Kensye Cocchia, Editor

Coronavirus has unfortunately impacted Americans’ lives since March 2020. Many high schools across the country experienced disappointment after a cancelled spring sports season, and now the fall sports season has been significantly impacted in Connecticut (CT).

Football in CT was cancelled for the fall season and will be reevaluated in the spring, upsetting many across the state. This led to a protest at the CIAC headquarters on September 9, 2020. The sports that are allowed to play in the fall are soccer, volleyball, field hockey, cross country, and cheer.

Junior soccer player, Brayden Young, describes the modification to their season based on current circumstances.“We got 4 games cut off of our season and there is no actual state tournament,” says Young. The season is very different from previous years, but many athletes are still allowed to participate in a safer and condensed season.

Young also mentions, “It is a little bit aggravating that we are not have a tournament this year because I believe we could have gone far, but at least we are able to play.” There are downsides to the new guidelines, but many are happy that their sport was not cancelled entirely, like football.

“I think that the safest decision would be not playing sports at all, but I am very happy we are playing and we should play to let the seniors get their season. It is hard to keep everyone completely safe while still playing, but I think that the transition to a COVID safe season worked very well and the only difference is wearing masks and proper social distancing,” says Young. 

Baseball head Coach Garrett Walker says, “It was incredibly heartbreaking to have last season cancelled. We had a great group of players and felt that we could make some noise in the postseason.” Walker feels on behalf of the 11 seniors that dedicated years to the program. “It was a tough way for them to go out, they played their last games as Lions without ever knowing it. As this year plays out I feel confident that we will return to the diamond in 2021 and have another solid season. We will have our shot, and we will be ready.”

Senior volleyball player, Robin Jans, says, “At first for volleyball, we were practicing outside which was kind of frustrating, but we just started practicing inside while wearing masks the whole time. This makes me feel happy because we are at least able to play inside, which is kind of like normal,

Jans focuses on the positives of the season transitioning into a more “normal” dynamic compared to past seasons, rather than dwelling on the negative impacts caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

Jans mentions, “I think the state is doing their best with what the circumstances are because we are trying to social distance while playing, we are all wearing masks, and we will only be playing teams around Milford. This will help stop the spread and a future outbreak.” 

“I am glad I am able to have one last season with all of my teammates,” says Jans.

Sophomore cheerleader, Annabel Wardman describes the new changes to the upcoming cheerleading season.“ Cheerleading has made some significant changes, as we are not permitted to stunt. Stunting is the center of cheerleading, and arguably what differentiated cheerleading from a club to a sport,” says Wardman.

Many changes to cheerleading have been made by the state, such as no football sideline cheerleading and no stunting causing many of the teams to have less ability to practice their skills.

Wardman says, “Although I am grateful we are able to practice at all, our inability to stunt has taken extreme toll on my enthusiasm, and our team’s morale as a whole.”

Given the circumstances, many students involved in a fall sport are frustrated but just grateful to be able to participate to some extent.

Wardman says, “I have no doubt that this transition was effective in preventing the spread of COVID, however, it permitted the practice of some sports, and denied the practice of others. This inspired jealousy among certain teams and is even more upsetting.”

Football being cancelled has devastated many students in CT, Wardman stated,“My suggestion (to the state guidelines) is not the safest decision, however it is important for students’ mental health to keep them in activities they love, and taking away the core of that activity is a major downer.¨ The state is trying to accommodate all students while preventing an outbreak in CT again.