COVID-19’s Impact on High School Sports-2021 Recap


Senior Josh Flom Taking precaution before his game Credits: Ben Friedman

By Ben Friedman and James Adamo

After a long year consisting of online school, no fans at events, and many limitations, we are finally beginning to get back to normal. School is back in person and fans are now allowed back at sporting events. With 2021 coming to an end, we look back on this crazy year and review what adjustments student athletes had to make.

Inside the hockey rink, many adjustments were made. Players had to wear masks at all times up until getting onto the ice. In addition, locker rooms were closed, forcing players to get ready in the lobby or at home. With no fans allowed inside of the rink, the game seemed less riveting for both players and coaches. Senior and captain Josh Flom had a few words to say when asked how playing in front of no fans affected him: “It was very quiet and weird to not hear noise after big plays.” Flom went on to say how he had to change his routine and was unable to, “get to the rink early and do a normal team warm up.” Like hockey, basketball had to make similar changes to adjust to COVID-19 protocols.

Boys Basketball took a massive hit in the amount of playing due to COVID-19. There was a shortened-season as well as a max capacity on the spectator amount. When asked about playing with a limited number of fans, senior guard, Jared Mintz, said “Playing without fans definitely hurt me. I feed off the crowd’s energy, especially on defense.” This seemed like a common topic of discussion when athletes across different sports were asked about changes regarding COVID-19. When asked about his feelings on the possibility of a shut-down at any point of the season, Jared said, “It was difficult not knowing whether our next game was going to be canceled or not.” He added, “I was very upset about the news of cancellations during the season because I was not able to play the sport I love with my friends.” 

Football, being outside, did not experience as drastic limitations as some of the indoor sports. In the locker rooms, players had to wear masks, but on the field, “things were pretty normal,” said Senior Quarterback Joey Riina. Riina went on to discuss the changes made regarding close contact indoors, saying, “We had to lift in groups instead of all at once.” The capacity amount in the stands not only affected fans, but players too. The presence of fans during the 2021 season was a huge advantage for players. Riina put it best, saying, “With no students allowed at games last year, we had a lot of support this year which we were able to feed off of.”

Similar to football, Girls Lacrosse was not significantly affected by COVID-19. Senior, Sam Hoff, had this to say when asked how detrimental COVID-19 was to her season, “We got lucky that COVID-19 did not affect our season as much as other sports. We didn’t have any outbreaks or people that had to quarantine on our team.” She also added on, saying that the few alterations made included, “Having a later start to our season, and not being able to make contact right away, it took longer for us as a team to gel together.” Some other changes made included: Limited locker room usage, wearing masks on the sidelines at all times, and the faceoff players were required to wear a mask while playing. 

Overall, the impact that COVID-19 had on high school sports was massive. With the absence of fans and the continuous wonder whether upcoming games and practices would be canceled, the players and coaches were greatly affected. It will be interesting to see the changes that will be made regarding the rules and regulations of High School sporting events.