Athletics in the Age of COVID-19

As the school year progresses, many questions arise. As these questions hit the school, much of the staff is in a predicament, one being Mr. Nolan. Nolan, Amsterdam’s athletic director, is a well known individual who is worried about the futures of our student athletes. When interviewed through email, the difficulties of sports were discussed in correlation with COVID-19. 

The virus has been around way before this school year. Last year, spring sports were halted abruptly before the season could even start. As the fall season crept closer, Mr. Nolan needed to figure out what he was going to do about sports and new guidelines. The Amsterdam school district is part of the Foothills Council and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA); therefore most of his decisions are based on what the Athletic Administrators deem as safe. When working with other Athletic Directors (AD’s), they spoke about and created plans for the up and coming seasons – when given the go ahead, those plans go into effect. This is shown with only “low risk” sports. 

Now that the low risk sports season is over, moderate and high risk sports and their athletes are left without a season. This led to the Fall-2 plan: a sport season created to take place from March 1st to April 30th. Mr. Nolan stated, “We do not want to make kids choose between sports or reduce seasons when the spring teams already lost a full season,” even though the Fall-2 plan does run through normal pre-season through maybe the first game, but this plan was not created to allow our multi-athletes choose what to play. Another important point is that this season is varsity only and we need a “mild winter.” This may sound upsetting to some student athletes, but being safe is more important in this case. 

Lynch Middle School football field, recently redone.

Lets not forget about the winter sports season. In another meeting Mr. Nolan had with the AD’s, they developed a plan. They decided that low and moderate sports would be allowed to continue throughout the winter, although Indoor Track would still be put on hold because of the lack of venues to hold meets. The high risk sports (basketball, ice hockey, and wrestling) did not start until recently with open gyms and a (most likely) shortened season. A shortened season means no sectional or state tournaments, which goes for Fall-2 also.

During these times, Mr. Nolan’s job is very stressful and seemingly frustrating. Surprisingly, it was not the students who were not supportive and cooperative but it was the adults giving a hard time accepting Mr. Nolan’s and the council’s decisions . The AD’s worked long and hard to come up with a plan that kept the students playing and safe. Many adults were disappointingly unrealistic about the situation, wanting their children to be able to continue to play sports no matter the cause which was disappointing. Many of the state’s guidelines continually changed and became stressful and difficult to make the sport seasons happen. 

Mr. Nolan and the other AD’s of section two have been advocating and working diligently for each team to have the opportunity to play. Mr. Nolan is one of the people who understand most that sports are important, but the safety of the entire community is important too. He would like everyone to stop listening to everything seen on social media and to make sure what is posted is accurate when it comes to athletics and health.

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