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During the Pandemic, Sports Inspire

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https://www.riverineherald.com.au/2020/01/16/987714/active-kids-program
Photo Courtesy: Riverine Herald, Fair Use

The year of 2020 will most likely go down as the most chaotic year in our lifetimes, and that can be attributed to COVID-19, the virus that shutdown countries and single-handedly put a halt to the functionality of the world. With the virus taking control of the US in March, Sports everywhere was in question.

At the professional level, postponements happened in the NBA, MLB, and NHL; all of which had shocked the world as it brought in an unprecedented emptiness that fans around the country had never seen before. Even abroad, soccer in all major European countries had been shut down, the big European Championship 2020 had been postponed until next, along with many other big tournaments that held great anticipation.

During the lockdown that initiated in March, a sense of boredom that we had never experienced was starting to take over consciousnesses across the world; mainly because there wasn’t anything to look forward to on the sports calendar. Even the main event of March, the annual sporting event that is considered to be the favorite amongst the general public, March Madness, was cancelled much to the dismay of Americans and College Basketball fans alike.

Then, things started to change for the better. The NBA announced the return of play in a bubble format to ensure the safety of its players and staff. This indicated the first real return to American sports since the initial cancellations. Although the initial ratings may look disappointing, experts covering the topic claim different opinions, along with social media accounts being super active especially during the first few games and the playoffs altogether.

That article shows the need for sports. As the NBA came back, it was obvious how much we really need sports as a medium. Sports came back slowly. The MLB and NHL were able to continue on an altered schedule, the NFL and College Football were able to roll out their versions of a season; With the NCAA causing a lot of controversy within communities by only having certain conferences resume play, these conferences being D1 Southern Conferences at first but was later willing to allow all D1 conferences, apart from the Ivy League, to resume play.

The impact of that initial decision for the Big Ten, the conference that houses The Ohio State University, was hard on communities in Ohio with the prospect of no college football for their beloved team becoming more and more likely with each passing day and each spike in cases. But even with all of the pro and some college sports, high school was still in the air, and it stayed in the air until the first day of official practices when it was determined that the programs would be paused.

High school sports practices were eventually allowed to start, but this proved to be an interesting few with all of the protocols that were strictly placed. For starters, at the forefront of every practice or scheduled team ability, temperature checks and mandatory questionnaires regarding health and recent activity were required for each player. Doing that every day felt repetitive at times but the fact that student athletes knew they were cleared by the training staff before practice provided a feeling of relief.

At practice, masks were required at all times when not on the field. Social distancing protocols were also strictly enforced in order to prevent the spread of the virus.  Eventually, high school teams were able to adapt to the changes and go on with their fall sports seasons.

At Gilmour, fall sports seasons proved to have very high value not only to the student athletes, but to the community as a whole. This show of strength and perseverance showed the community that we can handle whatever the virus throws at us.

Gilmour’s strength in fall sports resulted in considerable success. The Cross Country and Golf teams competed at the State level. The Volleyball team defied all the odds and won the State title. The Football team came back to take down its arch rival University School in miraculous fashion. And finally, our soccer teams enjoyed great seasons with historic wins over tough schools.

Not only does that success mean a lot to the players, but it means the world to the community that hungered to watch their classmates or students do huge things on the field in a season where it looked like it would just be a dream. Fall Sports for Gilmour Academy proved to be an inspiration for all, against all odds. The pandemic cannot stop the playbook of our lives.