Covid-19 school closures impacting student athletes

By Nafina Raha

The school closure that began in March has had a profound impact on the seasons of countless Granada Hills Charter (GHC) student athletes. All 2020 spring sports, including track and field, baseball, softball, swim and dive, boys golf, boys tennis, and stunt season for cheer, were canceled. 

This was a huge letdown for student athletes, especially for those in the class of 2020, and now for the class of 2021. Now that we have begun the fall 2020 semester, many student athletes are at a loss without their usual sports schedules. If school was open, football, girls volleyball, girls tennis, cross country, and boys water polo would all be in full swing. 

As of now, all athletic activities have been postponed until further notice. Discussions under the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) have determined that all sports seasons will be delayed until either December 2020 or January 2021, and must first be approved by both the California Department of Public Health and the CIF.

COVID-19 related closures have deeply impacted student-athletes, taking away their chance at open competition during their respective seasons. Many spring athletes feel that all of their hard work during the pre-season amounted to nothing, given that their competitions were all canceled. The feeling of a missed opportunity resonates among the vast majority of student athletes. 

“It’s devastating that my season has been pushed back with the uncertainty of even getting the opportunity to play. This uncertainty has impacted my mental space for training at the beginning of quarantine. But when you love something so much, it outweighs the possibility that I may not play again. So I use that love to fuel and motivate my training,”  senior Tatiana Coleman, a member of the girls varsity soccer team said. 

Despite their competitions being cancelled, many GHC student athletes have taken their training into their own hands through a variety of methods. One of the most common is self-training and home workouts. 

“Over quarantine I’ve just been working out a lot and training privately for the past few months so by the time we go back, I’ll be ready,” junior Khalil Forrester said. Forrester has played for the varsity boys basketball team since his freshman year.

The CIF released a report in July detailing the current calendar plan for 2020-21 sports seasons. Fall sports, including boys and girls cross country, traditional competitive cheer, football, and boys and girls water polo, have been moved to begin official practices on December 14, with contests/competitions launching at either the end of December or the beginning of January. Sports that traditionally occur during the winter season have been moved to the springtime. All spring sports, including soccer, team tennis, wrestling, basketball, swim and dive, lacrosse, baseball, softball, golf, and track and field, have been moved to start official practices either at the end of February or the beginning of March. Contests/competitions will begin sometime between the end of February to mid-March depending on the sport. 

It is important to note, however, that the details in this report are tentative and are subject to change due to the evolving COVID-19 climate. 

In regards to this return, many student athletes have expressed excitement about getting back on the playing field. 

“With this being my last year in high school, I’m truly looking forward to getting back on the track. It’s been difficult to only be able to do home workouts and run in my neighborhood knowing that we’ve missed so much, but the slightest thought of returning has kept me going. From the abrupt end to our season the previous year, I can only hope that we’ll have this upcoming season to make up for what we’ve lost,” senior Tyra Arandia, a member of the track and field team, said, summing up the feelings of most athletes at GHC. 

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