by Ariana Wiseman
With the return of warmer weather and lower COVID rates, TLS spring sports will begin on April 19, a semblance of normalcy in a strange year.
Like in most years, track, golf, softball, baseball and boys tennis will be offered; however, with COVID-19 protocols in place. Preseason practices started March 15, over a month before games, races and tournaments officially kicked off.
“There will be no fans for the [home] games and the kids will be required to wear a mask for the competitions,” athletics director Scott D’Ottavio said. “As far as away games, parents will not be able to come and certain facilities will not be open to the kids.”
Junior Avi Katzen, co-captain of track, helped put together the team’s preseason along with fellow captains juniors Adam Barrett, Andrew Bosworth and Elijah Wiseman to get ready for the upcoming season. Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, Katzen expressed his appreciation for the opportunities sports provide.
“It gives you the opportunity to talk to people you usually don’t talk to during school,” Katzen said.“Especially this year, when there are not a lot of opportunities to talk to people outside of the classroom. It’s a good break from the stress of school.”
Freshman runner Aliza Sapiro-Polishook explained how masks would challenge students more in their respective sports.
“A lot of breathing is controlling your breath and making sure you do it carefully so you don’t cramp, especially [for] someone with prior breathing issues,” Sapiro-Polishook said.
Katzen added that there would be some hardships to participating in sports this year.
“[Masks] restrict your breathing so I think it will be difficult to adjust to [them],” Katzen said. “[But] it will challenge me to do better.”
D’Ottavio also described how coaching and practices would change this year.
“We have to be more mindful that kids are going to have their masks on and they are definitely going to need to take mask breaks often,” D’Ottavio said. “We lost a season last year and I think that now that we didn’t have a winter season, the kids who wanted to play those sports are now eager to play. With spring comes nice weather and the kids are going to be out there wearing masks, taking breaks if they need to and having fun with their peers.”