SHS Athletes rise to COVID-19 during 2020 Fall Season

Sarah Irish and Mia Peterson

With so much uncertainty regarding the school year, the fall sports season has added some normalcy into student-athletes’ lives–with the exception of modifications and new regulations.  Playing amongst a pandemic has changed the way some sports are played and might change these sports forever. But Scituate has been lucky enough to make these changes work and carry on with the fall season as planned, as other leagues have opted out of competing this fall.

Regulations between these sports may continue to change; however, one will stay the same–masks. It has taken a lot of getting used to in school and everyday life; however, in sports, wearing a mask adds a whole new factor. The masks are a source of frustration for athletes because they prevent them from playing at the optimal level because of the restriction these masks have on players’ breathing abilities while running.

The field hockey team recently quarantined due to a member of the program testing positive for COVID-19. However, all of the athletes have tested negative, which shows how the masks really have been keeping people safe out on the field. Wearing masks during practice sessions and games is living proof that these strict regulations are put in place to help keep the players safe. 

The rules and modifications have presented a significant impact amongst all fall sports. Athletic Director Peter Umbrianna explained his role in coordinating the fall season. Umbrianna stated, “While the sport-specific modifications do impact our coaches and athletes more, it was initially a big challenge for me making sure all of our coaches were comfortable understanding these significant obstacles to the gameplay.” Thankfully, athletes and coaches have been able to adapt to these changes. Senior soccer captain John Fogarty explained the impact of these new rules as “a totally new game.” However, Fogarty added that he and his teammates have adjusted to the new rules, such as no throw-ins and no contact. Players can’t head the ball, and on free kicks, the ball can’t go in the air.

Transportation has been a very big concern for all teams. But Umbrianna has tried making it work for each team’s size while following the COVID restrictions. There is a limit on how many players can ride the team bus at a time, as they have to wear masks and sit one person to a seat. Consequently,  Varsity and JV teams can not travel on one bus. Some teams have asked parents to drive their students to away games to transport everyone there safely. As this is not ideal, Umbriana says, “We are trying to make the best of a tough situation.” 

Even though this fall season is different from most, SHS athletes are still happy to be out there. As senior girls soccer captain Caroline Horan says, “It seems as if everyone is very thankful to be playing–the restrictions are well worth having the season.” Even with these modifications, athletes have been playing these sports for years and are willing to roll with the punches if it means getting to play. 

Nevertheless, captains do agree it has been difficult for their teams to bond–especially with the absence of team dinners; however, they are making the most of it. With the regulations and precautions, it is hard to find ways to get together off the field. Teams are navigating this challenge and trying to find unique ways to get together. Some teams will follow their practice and games by going out to get food, or they will continue to hang out in the parking lot socially distanced. In the meantime, bus rides to and from games are more important now than ever, allowing teams extra time together. Senior field hockey captain Jane Feeney is  looking on the bright side: “I think that playing during such a challenging time alone has really bonded our team.”

This fall sports season is unlike any other, but the sailors have shown their continued dedication this season. Although it’s uncertain whether parents and fans can attend away games due to individual town restrictions, Scituate High School fans and parents are welcome to attend games at SHS. Fall athletes are rising to the occasion, and it shows through their standings. Volleyball and Cross Country are trying to get their records up and running. Boys soccer is undefeated with a record of 3-1-0, girls soccer at 3-0, girls field hockey at 2-0, and golf with a record of 8-1. Come out and help support your sports teams!