Teams are preparing without all the gear
In the late summer, the VHSL decided on having high school sports seasons rearranged and limited. Instead of sports like football happening now, it has moved to early 2021. The compromise of practicing for a season that may not happen has left a lot of things in question, but it seems like schools are willing to carry on in an alternative way. These workouts are still maintaining social distancing guidelines. For example, only two players are allowed to touch a ball before it is cleaned.
Daniel Checkosky, the Athletic Director of W.T. Woodson High School, mentioned that these are not practices. They are “voluntary workouts that allow kids to have an outlet from being in the house all day." When these kids arrive, they get their temperatures checked. Anyone with a high fever or shows any symptoms gets sent home.
Sanitary rules are also in play, according to Robinson High School’s Varsity Football Head Coach Scott Vossler, “We clean everything when kids are practicing passing the ball, we disinfect every one.” Equipment is being used sparingly. While everyone is currently in Phase 3, they need to reach the next phase before using more gear. For now football players are only wearing gym clothes and zero pads.
While most people involved agree with the ruling for delaying high school sports, some are restless. A few football players from Robinson, including senior quarterback Steve Hugney and offensive tackle Tristan Leigh, spoke at a rally in Richmond demanding fall sports back. According to maxpreps.com, a website on high sports nationwide, over half of the states in America are allowing fall sports to occur. Maryland is one of the recent states to follow suit.
“A lot of my guys want to play ball,” Vossler said, also noting that the frustration is not something to focus on. However, he does fully sympathize with their sentiments on the subject. “These guys have played for a long time and the seniors also want to finish off strong to get colleges more interested.” He also said, “This is not easy for 17-year-old boys to stomach, but sports are about getting through challenges.” While this could be an opportunity for growth, it is still a frustrating situation because no one has control in this case.
Langley High School’s Football Head Coach Dave Murray has not felt the heat that Vossler has faced. Murray and his staff are making tutorial videos to keep kids engaged. He also noted that Langley has a lower number of participants than others. Some schools have 50 people at these workouts, but the Saxons Football team has only had 40 people show up on average.
Fellow Saxon and volleyball Head Coach Susan Shifflet and her players, while frustrated, are “talking about it to air our frustrations out” while also preparing for the upcoming season if there is one to be played. But much like Vossler, Shifflet believes the extra time to prepare could be a big help. “We are emphasizing how much better we will be at ball handling.” Shifflet also mentioned there is “a sense of hope on the team that we will play. This also allows us to see each other and connect.” Shifflet concluded, “This is the best we can do right now.”