Photo Courtesy of Jaylene Powers: Sophomore Jaylene Powers practices tennis independently yet keeps in communication with her team regarding the possibility of practicing as a team. “I've talked to some people on my team, and they think having less practice is unfortunate,” Powers said. “ But it's what we have to do to keep us from potentially exposing ourselves to COVID-19.”

Canceled, suspended tryouts cause concern

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Undergoing distance learning and social distancing, athletes were forced to reevaluate the possibilities of upcoming sports seasons. As of now, the sports program’s scheduling and practices are tentative.

Tryouts and practice options are debated among various teams, but athletes fear that a lack of tryouts and practice will negatively impact the future of sports. Soccer and tennis player, senior Juan Obregon, acknowledges that individual practice, although safest for everyone, has prevented athletes from coming together as a team.

“Not having practice this year will limit the team’s growth in the coming years,” Obregon said. “Practicing on your own is never the same as practicing with the team. If we are limited in our practices, it will be difficult for us to be able to play at our best.” 

Losing hours dedicated to a sport, athletes are realizing extra practice will need to be instilled for success in their sport. It does not bring the same feeling or results as practicing in a team, as individually practicing lacks crucial team coordination. Tennis player, sophomore Jaylene Powers, thinks that both returning members and newer members will face difficulties.

“I know when the season starts up again, I’m going to be super rusty,” Powers said. “The lack of practice will definitely affect the underclassmen who don’t have as many skills as the upperclassmen. As a freshman last year, having practice was super beneficial because I came into tennis knowing almost nothing.”

As distance learning continues, soccer player, junior Jessica Cabrera, worries that sports will not continue for the duration of the school year. She said it may prove too risky for athletes and their coaches, as it is difficult to regulate social connections. The nature of sports itself is changing, as athletes feel distanced from their team.

“Most of us are looking forward to going to practice or a game to get our mind off school and personal things,” Cabrera said. “I believe some girls will lose their passion for it. Some might need this extra year to get better for the next ones. And as for the seniors, if they want to get scouted, there will be no opportunities for them.” 

Health risks are associated with the renewal of practice. Although teams may attempt to social distance at practices, space limitations may force athletes to remain closer together than anticipated. 

“As of right now, I’m on the fence about playing tennis this year,” Powers said. “I live with my mom, who is immunocompromised, my grandma, my two-year-old sister, and my dad. If I were to be exposed to COVID-19, I’d expose everyone else in my household to it too. It’s a hard decision to make because COVID-19 is so dangerous.”

However, these concerns have not stopped teams from discussing the possibility of returning to school to participate in their season. 

“I know that others on the team are also eagerly awaiting to get back on the field and play their hearts out,” Obregon said. “My advice to other teams that are going through similar situations is to not quit. The worst thing to do at this stage is give up.” 

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