Fall Sports Return in Time For Spring

Spring Sports Return


Photo credit: Emily Simon

Field hockey team at practice. Photo courtesy of Emily Simon.

Student-athletes line up at 4:30 p.m. each day to get their temperatures taken and to check-in. Some athletes are holding a field hockey stick, others a soccer bag or a volleyball bag, but everyone is ready to start practice. A few athletes are even holding their bags for the basketball practice they have after the first practice of their spring sport. 

This year, there are multiple sports seasons overlapping with the spring season. Due to COVID-19, sports this year have changed the time when some of the seasons take place and how long they are. The spring season started on March 1 and will end on April 16. It was cut short and also has winter and summer sports overlapping with the end and beginning of the season. 

The winter sports, such as basketball, ended their season on March 12 which overlapped with the spring season for two weeks. A handful of students have been attending both spring and winter practices in one day. At the end of the spring season, the summer season will overlap with the end of the spring seasons.

Sophomore Caroline Skok is a multi-sport athlete. She participated in basketball in the winter, field hockey in the spring, and will play soccer in the summer with Parker. She has experienced what it’s like to go from one Parker practice to another, both at the end and beginning of the spring season. “It has been hard to balance both sports over the first two weeks of the season,” Skok said. “The coaches of both sports felt that it was important for the players to come to their practice, which left some pressure on the players to make a schedule that has equal time for both sports.” Skok thinks that it would have been more helpful for the athletic department to provide a weekly schedule for the athletes who have overlapping sports. “Some of the coaches were very understanding of the situation while some didn’t fully understand why we had to devote equal time to both sports,” Skok said.

The typical field hockey preseason runs in August and is followed by a long season ending with a postseason. This year, the team didn’t get a preseason or a postseason. This left the coaches with little time to prepare for the games. The season was also cut short by about a month. Lots of field hockey bonding traditions are not allowed to occur this season because of the pandemic. “I’ve really enjoyed the season so far, and I’m excited about our first game this week,” Skok said, “It’s been nice to have something to look forward to every day after school, and seeing my teammates has been so fun.”  

This season field hockey has had the opportunity to participate in games. In a typical season, players would pack into the bus to head to the opponent’s field. But, among the many changes the teams face, bus capacity limits is one of them. The team is required to wear masks throughout the whole game and is separated from the other team when they aren’t competing on the field. Field hockey practices begin with players arriving early, so the coaches can ask the coronavirus protocol questions and take their temperatures. Once the player is checked in, they report to the field and get their equipment on. “Practice tends to run smoothly with a warm up at the beginning and ending with a scrimmage,” Skok said.

Volleyball player Alex Ostrom is a junior captain on varsity. Ostrom is very excited to be back and playing volleyball for Parker. “It definitely feels a lot different than in previous seasons, but it is nice to be in the gym again with the team,” Ostrom said. The volleyball practices this year have been shortened by 30 minutes to limit exposure since the team practices in the gym and not outside like the rest of the spring sports. When the team splits up into either JV or varsity, the team will be in pods. To limit exposure when the team travels, there will be multiple buses for the team to limit how many people are on the bus at once. 

Another precaution the athletic department is taking to keep the volleyball team safe are only playing schools with the same coronavirus measures as Parker. “The schools we play have to have split testing,” Ostrom said. “Another precaution I can think of are electronic whistles, which are extremely loud and kinda annoying. They definitely hurt your ears a lot.”

The volleyball team’s first game was Wednesday, March 17. “It definitely seems a little rushed considering we have only had a little more than a week of practice, and we have yet to go over a lot of the important information,” Ostrom said, “but I am extremely optimistic about it.” 

Ostrom is not only a volleyball captain, but she is also a softball captain, and she will have to split her time equally between the two teams. “I wish I would be able to dedicate my time entirely to either team, but I am sure we will figure out a way to work through it. I am also nervous that I may have games scheduled for both sports on the same day which would definitely be a problem” Ostrom said, “Luckily, I think the two seasons only overlap for two or three weeks, but for those weeks it will definitely be a challenge.”

This year, the volleyball team has many new players. “I am super excited for the rest of the season! I have been looking forward to getting on the court again for such a long time. I also think this is going to be a great building year for the team,” Ostrom said. 

Wells Gjerlow is one of the many freshmen playing soccer this spring. As a freshman he has never experienced what a season without the coronavirus looks like. It has also been harder for him to adjust to high school since he has had minimal interactions with other high school students. The soccer team started off the season with a member testing positive for the coronavirus resulting in eight players having to quarantine for 10 days. That set the team back a couple days, but “they are continuing to improve as a team,” Gjerlow said. To keep the team healthy, the coaches and team are frequently asked to socially distance and sanitize. Additionally, student-athletes’ temperatures are taken upon arrival and they are asked an array of questions to make sure they have no symptoms. 

“There are a lot of players that will have overlapping sports, and they have had their practices after soccer which can be very tiring,” Gjerlow said. The soccer practices consist of mostly drills, scrimmages, and running as of now. The 2021 season is Gjerlow’s first year playing high school soccer. “Teams are fewer people and drills are split up among multiple groups,” Gjerlow said, comparing his middle school experience to high school. “But I am very excited about the coming season and playing more in general.” 

As a freshman, it can be stressful, but Gjerlow expresses that everyone on the team is very helpful and nice. So far Gjerlow has had a very enjoyable and positive season. “The coaches have been optimistic and repeating the idea of making the most of the time we have for this season,” Gjerlow said. 

Though the coronavirus altered and cancelled many things at Parker, with the help of the administration, the coaches, and the athletic department, Parker was able to have all of the sports this year. Even if seasons were cut short or moved, the student-athletes will continue to play Parker sports this year. The student-athletes have adjusted to their routine in order to keep everyone on the team safe and healthy.