Sports teams adapt to new safety protocols

Cal Petersen, Staff Writer

After several months of hiatus in the spring, St. Pius X athletics officially resumed in early June. Navigating the complexities of playing sports during a pandemic is challenging, and the Athletic department has operated under the guidance of the CDC and the Archdiocese of Atlanta COVID task force. 

“This has changed the method of operation for every coach, for every student athlete, and at every level,” Athletic Director Mr. Todd Mooney said. “It’s not a negative, it’s just different.”

Some of those differences include temperature checks before every practice and wearing a mask when not actively participating in a sport.

One of the biggest adjustments fall sports coaches faced was altered pre-season conditioning plans.

The volleyball team, for example, wasn’t able to participate in camps or practices, and they even had to quarantine for several weeks. 

“Our preseason was basically totally wiped out,” head volleyball coach John Frederick said.

The cross country team wasn’t able to practice together at the same time all season, and head cross country Ryan McClay said he especially felt bad for the freshmen who had an unusual start to their high school athletic careers. 

“I feel bad for them,” he said. “They use the summer to get used to how our practices operate but didn’t get that chance this year.”

Athletes are creatures of habit, but this year they’ve had to adopt to a new normal.

Senior varsity football player Charlie Long said, “Going to practice with all these new rules feels weird this year. It was difficult at first, but we’ve all pretty much gotten used to it and have been enjoying the season so far.”

Practices are also more complicated and are taking longer with the implementation of the new safety protocols.

“I have to be a lot more patient and understanding and expect things to move much more slowly,” head competitive cheerleading coach Morgan Carney said.

With winter sports seasons now officially underway, the teams will continue to be just as vigilant as they were in the summer and fall.

“We’re still going to be restrictive on how we go about practices, including separating the teams and officials.” Mr. Mooney said. “I know our coaches and kids will be just as diligent when we get to winter sports.”