Wakefield athletes relish in a new normal

After months of waiting, the first sporting events of the season are here.

Graphic by Darian Daniels

After months of waiting, the first sporting events of the season are here.

Darian Daniels, Staff Writer

After many months that have dragged out to what feels like forever, sports at Wakefield have finally returned. Swim and volleyball are currently playing, and from a distance, everything seems back to normal. But although things may feel that way, it would be a lie to say that things are exactly how they used to be. For sports to return this season amid COVID-19, a lot of time and effort has been put into place with intensive screenings and rigorous COVID-19 guidelines. With these new rules, we have found a different way of playing sports: a new normal. 

Although there aren’t loud cheers in packed stadiums, the excitement is still felt all around.

“It makes my heart so happy to see these guys and to see them doing something they enjoy,” said swim coach Courtney Wainio. 

This is Wainio’s seventh year of coaching our swim team, and with the experience of being a great leader and coach, she is filled with confidence about this season. 

“[We are required] to do health screenings,” Wainio said. “We have to [answer] the COVID questions. We also have to take your temperature, and masks are on at all times.” 

But more than anything, she is grateful for the return of the season. 

“I missed these guys,” Wainio said, “we’re like a family.”

Not only have the rules to participate changed but how athletes compete is also different from previous seasons.

“What’s interesting about this year is that we’re doing tri- meets, so we have an option of doing virtual meets,” said swimmer Mary Policastro. Although this seems easier, the lack of officials for personal meets and the closing of many public pools say otherwise. 

“Since we’re doing tri-meets, only ten boys and ten girls can go to the meet, but everyone can go to practice,” Policastro said.

Although this isn’t ideal, it’s necessary, and when numbers improve there will be a plan for everyone to be able to participate in the meets.

Regardless of whether you play or not, there’s no denying the significant amount of responsibility that our student-athletes face.

Outside of volleyball, I’m not hanging out with anyone because there is a sense of responsibility not only for myself not to get it but for myself to not give it to the team”

— Ziegler

“Outside of volleyball, I’m not hanging out with anyone because there is a sense of responsibility not only for myself not to get it but for myself to not give it to the team,” said volleyball player Ashleigh Ziegler. “In volleyball, if one person was to get it, the whole team would shut down.”

Students and coaches have a big responsibility in being safe and social distancing, and being conscious of exposing themselves to the virus is slowly paying off. 

“[Starting] two weeks ago, we were allowed to have fans. Twenty-five parents were allowed to come in. It makes the game more exciting when someone is cheering for you,” Ziegler said.“Parents can watch their girls play in-person, which for seniors is a big deal.”

With the limited amount of people being able to attend games, there are still ways for fans and families to interact and watch their team play.

“We have provided [students and parents] with a stream[ing] service to fans,” said volleyball coach Cynthia Terrell. “We do appreciate the family members who can come in and watch or view us online. We miss our fan-base and staff support.”

Even with students not being able to be there physically, there are still ways to support their team.

Wolverines live streaming is Wakefield’s own live stream on-demand that allows students, parents, and fans to watch hundreds of athletic events at any time, on any device.

High school sports have changed drastically, but so have our livelihoods. It is important that we always remain resilient, responsible, and able to adapt to new situations that we have never experienced before.