How fall sports captains feel about the modifications of this season

Field+hockey+captions+Jackie+Goode%2C+Maya+Malenfant%2C+and+Lily+Heslem+pose+for+a+photo.

Carolyn Delgizzi

Field hockey captions Jackie Goode, Maya Malenfant, and Lily Heslem pose for a photo.

Ava Dreyer, Feature editor

To fit COVID-19 guidelines, many rules for fall sports have been changed to avoid as much contact with other players as possible. Captains have had to adjust to the modifications themselves, and figure out how to bring the team together in COVID-friendly ways. 

A few of the significant rule changes include disallowing headers in soccer and the introduction of a new foul called a “COVID foul”. Field hockey has to play with 7 players on the field rather than 11 and can’t have corners, and golf players can’t take the flag out of the hole. 

 “Even though it is a lot more challenging, we have had time to sit and talk during stretching, rolling, and sometimes in runs even if we are spread out,” senior cross-country captain Nate Lathrop stated. “Also, we have done a good job at pairing some underclassmen or new people with some ‘veterans’ on warmups just to give them some guidance.”

Many changes with rules have also shaped the way players think about their game strategy.

“As a team, we have to come together and score early and more often since corners were taken away and we have less chances to score,” senior field hockey captain Jackie Goode said. 

Not only have rule modifications been setbacks, but team bonding has also been harder this season. This is because of the fact that teammates can’t get together for team dinners inside, or get together outside of practices or games without masks.

“Without team bonding, it’s now a responsibility as captain to build morale in the little time we are on the field,” senior soccer captain Ally Kirk said.

Some teams are allowed to play in a “Covid Cup” tournament this year, in place of the state tournament that would usually happen. Unfortunately, not every sport is able to do this, like cross-country. 

We had almost all of our invitational, state, regional, and national meets taken away this year,” Lathrop said. “We normally would compete in our divisional meet to compete for a spot at the All-States meet, and from there we may have run in our regional meet”.

Not all sports have had the same number of modifications, but every change impacts the game.

“Golf’s rules haven’t changed other than not being able to take out the flagstick when you putt. It’s a big reason as to why the sport is more important to everybody this year,” senior golf captain Jacob Finard stated. “After a day filled with a lot of bouncing around from online stuff to in-person school, golf has been a great activity to make life feel more normal. The pros outweigh the setbacks by a million.”

Captains try to keep their team positive and energized while battling their own feelings about the season.

I would say that although I am definitely disappointed to have the season basically taken, I am lucky to even have some amount of a season and still be able to race,” Lathrop said. “Even though the times this year are going to be a lot slower than other years, it is definitely a necessary sacrifice. We don’t want numbers to rise, and we don’t want to put anyone on our team or any other team at any risk of getting (COVID-19).”