Sports at Ralston Valley have always been a huge part of our culture and school year. Year after year teams in all sports are competing for league, and even state titles. However, of course, this year is different. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up Colorado high school sports and many things have changed.
Originally there was no certainty that the winter sports season would even take place. Thankfully CHASSA board members came to an agreement and a modified winter sports schedule was released. However, this schedule was very different from the typical winter sports plan. The season was cut nearly in half and every single sport lost numerous games, practices, and team events. Senior basketball player McKenna Nichols explained, “We lost nearly half of our games… Instead of 26 we now only get 14.” Girls basketball was not the only sport that took a hit, every sport lost a majority of its season. For example, ice hockey, girls swimming, and basketball’s normal 4-month schedule was reduced to an alternate 2-month plan.
Unfortunately, a shortened schedule is not all that COVID-19 has done to sports. How practices, games, and meets look is all different, as many precautions are in place to continue to keep students safe from the virus. Masks are obviously required at all sporting events, and in some contact sports that are high risk, students must wear their mask while playing. Other high-risk sports such as swimming have been changed completely. “We do virtual meets now,” explained Senior swimmer Evi Williamson, “We swim at our pool and other schools do the same. Then we just compare the times.”
Along with this, no spectators are allowed at sporting events unless they are an official or coach. Fans are a huge part of sports, Junior Jackson Kennedy said, “I mean yeah having no fans suck. They are a huge part of the game and something I was looking forward to this season.” This year it seems things can not get much worse for our athletes but hopefully all winter sports seasons go smoothly. Nobody needs any more setbacks.
Despite these unfortunate turn of events and crazy year, athletes are still grateful to be able to do what they love. Athletes love to play like senior McKenna Nichols, “I’m glad we get to play at all. In the end, I’m just happy to play.” This sports season is a year like no other, but our Ralston Valley athletes are pushing through like they always do, and are making the most out of this abnormal season.