Effect of Masks on Sports

Keegan Sullivan and Billy Bernier

It’s another school year, but students and athletes are stuck with the same circumstance at school–masks are still required. However, with the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine, there is some hope that the mask mandate will be lifted. Scituate High School’s mandate may be lifted on November 1st if the school has an 80% or higher vaccination rate. 

Athletic Director Scott Paine emphasized the importance of vaccination on the future of masks in school and during sporting events, stating, “The school needs to have a 80% vaccination rate, and then we will see.” When asked if a mask mandate on winter athletes is an MIAA decision or a decision from the government, he quickly answered “government’s,” explaining how the MIAA is just following the guidelines they are given. 

Wearing masks during games has been challenging for all student-athletes. Boys basketball captain senior Sam Benning called his mask a “distraction,” describing how he had to “pull it up every few seconds” and it “set off his focus.” Although the mask is annoying to Benning, he and his teammates have been preparing for the season by wearing masks in “fall leagues and preseason workouts.” Girls hockey captain senior Hayley McCarthy felt that she personally “got used to it” and that “all teams had to face the same adversity.” McCarthy played hockey games all summer long without a mask but says she “expects to be wearing masks this season.” 

Masks have an impact on players and coaches. Boys’ hockey coach Brian Hurcombe thinks masks will be enforced once again since “they are already being worn in school.” Hurcombe found himself “policing the masks more” and “missing some plays” because the communication between himself and the players was altered by the mask.

With a year of playing winter sports with masks under their belt, players and coaches are expecting to play with masks this winter and will be more prepared this time around.