A whole new game

Athletes face challenges with new COVID-19 guidelines this season


Kelsey Jones

Due to COVID-19, fans are required to social distance and wear a mask while sitting in the stands. SHS lost their first game of the season 35-28 to Columbus North High School.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the cause of the biggest change to modern sports in recent history. From taking away senior seasons to being the reason that some athletes don’t pursue collegiate careers, all athletes have been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another.

“With everything going on, I don’t know that any of (the football players) felt truly certain that we would be playing right now,” head football coach Brandon Winters said.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, many athletes have voiced their opinion that they want sports to continue to play, and while the impact sports has on students is important, many school

s and local governments do not see it as important as the athletes’ health.


Marion County Health Department has implemented many new rules and guidelines to protect the players from the virus. The changes range from keeping all athletes socially distanced if possible, wearing masks when not participating in a practice or game and not touching other players or equipment if possible.

Junior quarterback Zach Shepard believes the new guidelines will play a role in games as the players must be separated from others on the sidelines and must wear masks at all times when off the field.


Taylor Renick, the middle blocker for the girls volleyball team, has voiced her opinion on the new rules and regulations and how she feels about them, but she understands why she and many other players must follow them.

“I dislike

(the guidelines),” Renick said. “But it is what we have to do, so I respect them.”

Although some see the pandemic as a negative, there are SHS teams and athletes who have found ways to bring positives out of this. As teams are forced to go through these uncertain times together, their bonds and connections with one another have grown as well.

According to junior soccer player Albert Thang, the soccer team has not only gotten much closer to each other, but they have also learned lots about the people around them.
“We have gotten closer as a family and spent some quality time with each other,” Thang said.

As the coaches and athletes prepare for their upcoming season, Winters feels the limited amount of practice time opposing teams get will pay off due to the fact that they might not be quite as prepared for their games.

“I think some teams will try to jam all the things they’ve always done into a shorter period…” Winters said. “I think if one team tries to do way too much, it will be obvious because they won’t be able to execute (it).”

If the seasons do get canceled, many athletes will have not gotten the chance to perform at all. For seniors, this could have a huge impact on whether or not they go on and play sports at the collegiate level. For Renick, it determines if she continues to play volleyball in college.

According to Renick, if the volleyball season does get cancelled, it would be extremely hard for college scouts to look at her and would impact her chance at playing volleyball in college tremendously.

For some SHS athletes and coaches, they are just grateful for the ability to enjoy sports in the midst of a global pandemic.
“It has not been the most convenient thing to deal with,” Winters said. “But it is better than the alternative, which would be no sports.”