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New athletic calendar poses safety concern

SUN. | 12-27-20 | SPORTS

     As we all know, COVID-19 has come with many changes from how students can attend school to how many people are let in a restaurant at one time. Major challenges that Rose athletes are currently facing include scheduling changes and restrictions. 

     Currently, volleyball season is in full swing and both JV and varsity have had a few games both on the road and at home. JV is currently 2-1 and has had all away games. Varsity is 5-1 and has had two home games and four away games. All of the players on both teams are required to wear a face


Graphic by Jack Vick

mask at all times on and off of the court. The JV team has already had to postpone two games due to players on the opposing team testing positive. The varsity team was put in quarantine for six days after the Conley game, because one of Conley’s players tested positive. I can’t compare the contact that volleyball players have with one another to the contact that football players have with one another, but think about it…a high school volleyball court is 60 by 30 feet and there are six girls on either side of the court who are all constantly moving around within six feet of one another. There are 12 girls all touching the same ball, and it is an indoor sport. Football season was moved to February while volleyball season remained in the fall, with no reasoning from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association as to why there is one high contact sport being played right now and another that got moved to later in the school year. 

     Tennis is usually played in the fall, but this year it has been moved to April. Think about the contact between tennis players. There is slim to none. In a singles match, (one person on either side of the net) the court measures 78 by 27 feet and in a doubles match, (two people on either side of the net) the court measures 78 by 36 feet. The players have no contact with the opponent, and touching the same ball can be easily avoided. For example, in the United States Tennis Association, one player has a ball with a certain color dot and the opponent has a different ball with a different color dot. The players can only pick up their color and this eliminates any contact between the players. 

     Tennis season is not until April and right now, COVID-19 is on an uprise in the United States. Obviously, we do not know what it will look like in April, but why are sports with greater amounts of contact being played before those with little to no contact?

     Comparably, cross-country season is also occurring right now. I feel that it is a good time for cross-country as the weather is perfect for running and this is a non-contact sport. Cross-country is always a fall sport and so these athletes are not having to face too much of a change in the time frame of their season as long as the runners remain socially distant in races. 

     A few weeks ago, high school swim season began. It is a good time for swim season right now because it is also a non-contact sport as swimming is done individually and contact with other swimmers can be avoided. According to the CDC, the chlorine put in pools is proven to “inactivate” COVID-19, creating a safe environment for this sport to continue. Since an athlete cannot wear a mask in the swimming pool, one might think that getting out of the pool breathing heavily without a face covering could present a possible exposure. However, the evaporation of chlorine from the pool could prevent this potential contraction of the virus by disrupting the virus’s activity in the air.

     On Monday, Dec. 7, high school basketball season began. Basketball is a high contact sport as all of the players are very close to one another and are all playing with the same ball. There are some regulations on this year’s basketball season such as the players having to wear masks. I have a feeling that this will look something like the volleyball season in the sense of there being a high chance of spreading the disease among teams. 

     High school sports such as soccer, football, basketball, baseball, softball, golf and of course tennis have all been pushed to later in the year. The time frames that sports are being played have no relation to the amount of contact they all require. I feel that there needs to be more of a method to this madness of when sports are being played. As mentioned before, nobody knows what the rate of the virus will look like in a month or in six months. What we know is what it looks like right now, and sports that involve greater amounts of contact should not be played during this time unless we want to keep spreading the virus. 

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