Winter sports balance safety and normalcy

Winter sports balance safety and normalcy

Laynie Stroup, Reporter

Winter sports are here but Covid cases are rising and now we are entering flu season. This causes uncertainty for athletes whose sports season may be in jeopardy. 

“Most of our team plays club, so a canceled soccer season wouldn’t necessarily mean a canceled club season,” sophomore Ellie Davidson said. “But it seems no one would be shocked if we didn’t get to play.”

Davidson is preparing for her first varsity soccer season at Martin. 

“I honestly don’t think we will get to play every game on our schedule,” Davidson said. 

The first scrimmage was on Dec. 11 against Frisco Heritage. District play begins on Dec. 22.

“Our team goal is to win district and possibly regionals,” Davidson said. “I am looking forward to the bus rides to and from the games because we all listen to music and dance together.”

With changes to practice, the team has had to work harder to come together. Limited time with teammates has created a few challenges.

“The team’s connection is very strong considering we’ve been out for so long,” Davidson said. “Our head coach separated the different teams from the beginning which helped form the bonds we have now.”

There shouldn’t be major changes to the way the game is played, but it will be different than usual. 

“I think because of how weird 2020 was, the season will be more memorable,” Davidson said. “We will definitely remember games being canceled, winning, and losing with each other.”

The Lady Warriors basketball season started Nov. 6 with non-district games and district play beginning on Dec.18.

“Our team goals this season are that we want to win district and state, continue to build our purpose, and persevere through all adversity,” senior Mariah Roberts said. “As an individual, I want to leave a legacy and a positive impact when I graduate from Martin.”

Roberts will be attending TCU in the fall to continue her basketball and academic career. She will be missed by her teammates and coaches greatly.  

“We have a really unique bond,” Roberts said. “No matter what adversity or challenges come our way we persevere through it as a team.”

As far as concerns with Covid, there is always a possibility for canceled games or even a canceled season.

“We know the risk we take every time we step on the court,” Roberts said. “It’s something we can’t control.”

Although the season will look and feel different some things will always remain the same.

“My passion for the game will always be the same,” Roberts said. “I love the game with all my heart. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears go into basketball.”

Coaching will also be different this season. Lots of protocols must be followed. 

“Keeping the athletes separated 6 feet from their friends and teammates was the more difficult part,” assistant girls soccer coach Jamie Couch said. “Making sure athletes were wearing masks, checking in, and getting temperatures taken cut into a lot of practice time. Planning practices down to the minute on paper that way we could trace back if needed.”

Tons of precautions have been set in place in order to ensure the safety of the athletes. 

“Every day athletes fill out a Covid symptom form to ensure they are not coming to practice with Covid like symptoms. In addition to the form, coaches check every athlete’s temperature and sanitize hands as they enter practice,” Couch said. “Athletes are required to wear masks unless they are running or practicing. Even with masks, we keep athletes six feet apart. We try our best to keep our athletes safe while they are in our presence.”

This is Couch’s second soccer season at Martin. Couch is the girls’ JV-A coach.

“My favorite part of coaching high school athletes is watching them grow,” Couch said. “Not only as athletes but into young adults who have dreams and big aspirations in life.”

Coaching is such an important role, especially for high school athletes. Not only do coaches want their team to win, but they want their team members to belong.

“Most athletes prior to this pandemic were so involved in extracurricular activities and when they could no longer participate, they felt a sense of loss,” Couch said. “Now that we can play and participate in those extracurriculars again, there is a sense of hope and excitement.”

With the holidays coming up and cases rising, the fear of a canceled season is increasing. 

“I really hope we’ll be able to play the whole season because last season got cut short,” Couch said. “Cases seem to increase after holidays because of increased exposure and I’m worried that it may delay our season or cut it short.”