Playing in a Pandemic

Athletes Give Their Perspective on the Return to Sports


The 2020 fall sports have been limited to tennis, golf, and cross country. Parker athletes’ faces remain hidden behind their masks, playing the sport that they love while making the most of the time they have together. Athletes in the Upper School have already attended weeks of practice and a few matches.

The girls tennis team started practices in mid-August, and players are required to wear masks at all times. During games, both teams use different balls and try their best to remain six feet apart.

There’s definitely an overarching sense of COVID related anxiety, but it’s been really amazing to see the team’s improvement and overall enthusiasm!”

— Julia Auerbach

“Practice and matches are definitely different this year,” Girls Tennis Captain and senior Julia Auerbach said. “There’s definitely an overarching sense of COVID related anxiety, but it’s been really amazing to see the team’s improvement and overall enthusiasm!” 

This year’s tennis season had a larger number of players compared to last year. Many students take the bus to practice and Parker faculty make sure everyone is distanced to and from the XS tennis facility on State Street. During tennis matches, which are always outdoors for safety reasons, the whole team wears masks on and off the court. Events such as the homecoming game, dinner, and senior night will not be the same, but players are happy that they get to compete.

Co-ed cross country’s season started similar to tennis, with everyone required to wear masks while participating. “It’s been going very well,” junior and team member Owen Dudney said. “We’ve followed social-distancing protocols rigorously. Our first race is this week and I think we’ll do well, but there are limitations; we have a lot of new runners, but unfortunately not all of them will be able to come because of a cap on the number of participants in a race.” Before the coronavirus, more runners were able to compete, but now they are trying to cut that number for less exposure. But given that cross country is a non-touch sport, runners have been able to distance themselves.

Co-ed golf’s season has also started, and because it is already a distanced sport, it has been running very smoothly so far.  

“I think that the golf season has overall been going the best it can under the given circumstances,” senior and team member Rohan Dhingra said. “Although there are policies such as 24/7 mask necessity outside, even while socially distanced, I know that every faculty member associated with the team is trying their best to make the required adjustments to play. We have had matches and practices thus far with a team that is 40 students strong and my only hope for this season besides, of course, improving my own score and the team doing well, is that the postseason tournament will still happen.” So far, all sports have been running smoothly with practices only being canceled due to weather conditions. Based off of these three athlete’s perspectives, it seems like Parker has been transitioning well during the pandemic.