How Did COVID Affect Your Sport?

Athletes Said COVID Took Away the Fun of Their Sport



COVID-19 continues to represent the single biggest challenge to contemporary community sports—globally. With social distancing policies, strict return-to-play protocols, and COVID-19 specific training has, perhaps, forever changed the way that teens and young people engage in organized sports. I have interviewed track and cross country, basketball, and wrestling student athletes at Brunswick High to share their experiences with competing during this pandemic and the results on how COVID has affected these athletes.

FCPS Rules: *As of February 24, 2022

  • Indoors: All student-athletes, coaches, officials, game management staff, volunteers, timers and spectators will wear face coverings.  The exceptions include student-athletes (only) actively participating in athletic contests, athletic practices, organized training activities (OTAs), and weight training exercises – face coverings are optional during these activities.  Face coverings must be worn on the sidelines/bench and in locker rooms at all times.  Officials may remove face coverings when competitions begin.
  • Outdoors: All student-athletes, coaches, officials, game management staff and spectators are recommended to wear face coverings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.  The exceptions include student-athletes actively participating in athletic contests, athletic practices, and organized training activities (OTAs).   All individuals are encouraged to wear face coverings in any setting whenever they would feel more safe.
Picture credit: Frederick News Post

Track and Cross Country: I myself have done track and cross country for about eight years now. I have interviewed a senior student athlete, Collin Bomysoad. Bomysoad has been doing track and cross country for six years, including Potomac Valley Youth Association (PVYA) in middle school. Collin says, “COVID has made it more stressful for athletes,” Bomysoad thought we would keep having track until “the new cases are low.” 

This past cross country season, the boys team won states. For the girls’ team: Lauren Laverty and Nadia Remaley also qualified for states. Laverty got eleventh place and Remaley got twenty third place. Indoor track is a lot harder with the COVID protocols than cross country. We are required to wear masks all the time besides if you’re doing an event. Both Bomysoad and Andrew McGillivary (also a senior) said, “just wear the mask” while at an event. For cross country and indoor track, we practiced outside making it more reasonable to stay six feet apart. 

Picture credit: Frederick News Post

Basketball: Caleb Shullenbarger (senior) has been playing basketball for ten years. He started when he was seven years old playing for PVYA. He has made varsity basketball for the high school this year.

When I asked Shullenbarger about the new protocols for COVID and the requirements for masks, Shullenbarger said, “Masks [need to be worn] while sitting on the bench and the crowd wears masks.” Basketball is a contact sport, some sports are safer with the virus. This basketball season the Brunswick varsity boys basketball team won 3-15. In Maryland’s Division 1A, Brunswick is 31st.  

Caleb says, “[wearing masks while at basketball has] made it more annoying,” and some others can agree with him. 

Wrestling: COVID-19 has impacted wrestling substantially.

Dargan Bladen (senior) has been wrestling for some of her time in high school. So far she has “not won any matches, but is still having fun doing wrestling.” With the new protocols for wrestling, they have to wear a mask on the side. They have had some of their matches stopped because of COVID. Bladen also said, “[COVID] makes it less fun and now there is less stuff to do.” 

So far the Brunswick wrestling team has gone to thirteen matches. Bladen says, “[COVID has] stopped a lot of matches.” 

Another senior wrestler Jordan Herbert says, “with masks it makes conditioning worse because it’s harder to breathe.” COVID has also limited the space to where the wrestlers can wrestle.  “From last year it ruined 90% of their season and they only had four matches,” said Herbert. Also with some gyms being closed Herbert couldn’t workout because of COVID. They also had to change states, only the top two this year go to states… usually its top four.  Right after they finish a match, they have to put their mask back on which makes it hard to breathe. 

COVID has ruined a lot of things for high school students. COVID restrictions have decreased the amount and intensity of physical activity. Reasons for decreased activity included limited access to equipment, decreased motivation, and change to school and sport routines.