Local Sports Struggle Under COVID Restrictions

As people attempt to recover from the Covid-19s isolation of their community, local sports have risen to the occasion to help Longfellow students cope with the pandemic.

2020 has had a disastrous effect on students’ socialization as the virus has prevented many events and local activities, including competitive sports. Local recreation leagues in Falls Church and Mclean remained closed throughout the spring because of the lockdown.

As restrictions eased, however, fall and winter sports have managed to come up with new procedures to once again make these sports available to students. As new rules apply to the local recreational clubs and sports teams, kids have managed to cope with the new ways of playing.

Masks and air filtration have been employed to help stop the spread of the disease while still allowing youth to participate safely.

As local sports carry on, high schools and local colleges use equipment to limit the amount of contact between players. Football players, for instance, use protective mouth gear and gloves to help keep players safe.

Other Sports use different techniques to make sure Covid-19 stays away from sports grounds.

” For sports like tennis that are performed outside, air ventilation makes sure that no one catches covid-19. Players are practicing social distance when coming into contact with each other as well, so I feel safe when playing tennis,” said 8th grader Cara G.

Riley Barrows, the After School Coordinator, works closely with the local sports community and is familiar with some of the safety features in place at rec centers where an increasing number of sports are becoming available.

“Anyone not on the field must wear a mask and be 6 feet or more away from the sideline/ field of play,” Mr. Barrows explained. “Also, parents attending must socially distance themselves from each other during games and practices. There are no community water bottles or halftime snacks permitted. Some leagues require temperature checks before every practice and game for all players.”

Additionally, there is safety equipment so that players have as little contact as possible for the safety of the students.  Hand Sanitizer and wipes are given as well as daily cleaning to keep people safe and germs off of seats, courts, and pitches.

Though Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam set mandatory requirements for high schools and recreational sports, gray areas were left in enforcement and the types of activities that can be performed.  As of now, cleanliness is key as equipment is washed daily and touching is limited. “Some youth sports are currently in season,” said Barrows. “As of now, youth soccer is in season with limitations. Practices and games must be conducted outdoors, and players must wear a mask when not on the field. Also, parents attending practices and games must wear masks the entire time.”

Barrows also praised FCPS employees who clean indoor spaces so that germs and bacteria are not left on surfaces.

Even with all the precautions, however, some sports cannot be performed, leaving students to find other outlets.  One such outlet is the LMS Sports Talk Radio club, where students can chat about the sports they love with one another.

“It gives kids a choice to talk about their passions, to inspire them and push them further with sports they are not doing,” said club attendee Riya D. “It helps to connect and share ideas as they wait for their local sport to open up to the public again.”

Another outlet for those missing their sports is playing virtual sports such as FIFA, NBA 2K, and Madden NFL with friends.

Lars W., who attends the Sports Talk Radio club, also proposed a few options for students looking to satisfy their thirst for sports. “Things like exploring new passions and playing sports with family, as well as trying out new sports helps fill in that gap,” suggested Lars.

Whatever students can do to help pass the long covid quarantine, they are all looking forward to the vaccine and the spring when their sporting lives just might be able to get back to normal.