Fall Sports Return with New Rules


SHS student-athletes are complying with mask rules to they can continue to play sports

Samantha Roman and Sydney Washburn

With the return of school, comes fall sports for student-athletes. This year, COVID-19 has altered the student experience and the way both school and sports look. A variety of new changes have been put in place in order to prevent the spread of the virus and allow for student-athletes to compete this fall. 

Football and cheerleading were deemed unsafe for participants, which led to the Fall 2020 season being postponed to February 2021. SHS junior Henry Gates was looking forward to his fall season on the varsity football team. Gates plays quarterback and is currently trying to take advantage of the postponement. Gates said he plans to use this time “to get better and master plays.” The football team is still practicing and lifting five times a week, and masks are mandated at these practices. Gates is both excited and nervous about the upcoming season because the team hasn’t played a real game since the fall of last year. The rules for football have not been released, but he hopes the changes made to the game won’t impact his overall playing experience. 

SHS senior Nora Dawley is one of the varsity girls soccer captains this fall season. Just like many other sports, soccer was pushed back by about a month and is shorter in length. This year, heading, contact, and slide tackling are not allowed. Throw-ins have turned into kick-ins when the ball goes out of bounds, a corner kick can no longer go into the 18-yard box, and everyone must wear masks while playing. As it is Nora Dawley’s last year, she is just glad to be back playing despite the changes. Nevertheless, Dawley is disappointed that pasta parties are prohibited because they are such a fun team aspect and a crucial part of the team bonding experience. As the team continues, they hope to continue their winning streak. 

Junior Drew Belmarsh is running cross country, an individually-driven sport that has seen very few changes due to the pandemic. SHS runners have to start off meets in separate groups or heats, and the placing of runners at the end of the race is no longer based on who crosses the finish line first but is now determined purely on time. Athletes are required to start the meet off with masks, but once they are socially distanced from other runners, they are allowed to remove their masks.

The girls’ field hockey program was temporarily been shut down due to their exposure to COVID-19. Team members quarantined, and have now returned to their season. Freshman Molly Boyle described how, like soccer, many changes have been made to field hockey’s season–the main two being mandatory mask-wearing and new 7 vs. 7 formations compared to the previous 11 vs. 11. Boyle says that with the new rules comes “a lot more running” and a decrease in the importance of penalties. Overall, Boyle is adapting to these new rules and appreciating that sports are running. She says, “It’s all worth it because sports are a great high school experience.” 

Peter Umbrianna, the athletic director at Scituate High School, has had a busy schedule with trying to keep all sports open this fall, while also keeping everyone safe. He says the biggest challenge this fall has been “the substantial amount of different sports modifications and keeping coaches up to date on all of the rules.” There have been rapid changes to EEA guidelines, and almost weekly they are modified from their current rules and guidelines. Umbrianna also stated that he thinks the athletes have “done an outstanding job of adapting to the different changes, as far as how the game is played, and have done a pretty good job of wearing masks and social distancing.” With so many new rules and regulations, he believes students have done a great job, but there is always room for improvement. 

As sports this fall continue to change, student-athletes, coaches, and school administrators continue to adapt to new guidelines. It seems athletes will put up with any rules in order to continue playing on their sports team, which reveals the passion for sports that SHS students maintain.