COVID-19 Putting Restrictions on More Than Just the Game

Athletes experience vast changes with morale amidst COVID-19 restrictions.


Haven Blosser, Reporter

With season changes, a new group of sports take on the season COVID-19 style. Basketball is one of the most popular sports for students to attend in years past. COVID-19 has changed attendance for all sports, but that means no students at basketball games.

Sophomore Taylor Rottinghaus shooting a layup during the varsity game against Turner.

“Without fans, there is no motivation to play, the crowd pumps everyone up, so without that it feels like a scrimmage,” junior Sydnee Hadley said.

Crowds aren’t the only thing that keeps teams going, the bonding between the players also strengths the team as a whole.

“I feel like there isn’t as much team bonding, because you constantly have to wear your mask and be separated,” Hadley said.

One main difference between years past and now this season with COVID-19 is wearing masks during practices and most games. Not every school Shawnee Heights travels to makes the team wear masks during the actual games. Most do, such as all 501 schools. When the team is playing at home, Shawnee Heights athletics does not require the players to wear masks.

“Wearing masks is like breathing through a wet paper towel,” senior Brent Showalter said.

Describing the sweat and heavy breathing that goes on during games and practices, after having to run up and down the court with a mask over your mouth. Many of the players said wearing a mask was one if not the biggest game changer this year, literally and figuratively.

“I think the masks affect our teams playing– it’s a lot harder to breathe– but we got to do what we got to do,” senior Isiah Johnson said.

Senior Andrew Rantz going for a layup in the varsity game against Turner.

Both seniors also talked about how they feel about these changes happening during their final season, and especially how official “senior night” that the school does every year will not be the same.

“I’m really disappointed that my senior year is going to be a COVID year,” Showalter said. “This is what you work your whole life for in athletics and it feels like a huge part of the experience is being taken away.”

Although the odds seem pinned against the team, the players try to find the positive side to the situation, and for many that is that the season has not gotten cancelled and the players can still compete against other schools. 

“I don’t see the season ending because of COVID,” Johnson said. “My teammates and I do a good job of following the rules set by our coaches.”

As for the rest of the season, it is always a possibility that COVID-19 could affect it at any time. But right now, the players do not necessarily like the changes but have no choice but to roll with it for the sake of the rest of the season.