COVID-19 to Impact Football Season, Homecoming 2020

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Sebastian Ocampo

     COVID-19 has brought many changes to this year’s sports and events. The month of September is an exciting one for Fenwick Athletics as it marks the beginning of the Friars’ beloved football season. But as we have entered a year full of restrictions, changes and social-distancing, the football season has been affected greatly.

     “It’s hard to tell what the future is going to look like. No one knows anything these days so we’re just going to keep our knees bent and be ready to adjust to whatever they allow us to do,” said head varsity football coach and assistant athletic director Matthew Battaglia.

     The biggest change seen so far is the football season being rescheduled to start in the spring with its first game set to happen on March 5 and preseason on February 15. Other small changes include mouth coverings. While outside in physical activity, players will not have to wear mouth coverings because it is not recommended with helmets on, as it poses a health hazard. Although they will not wear mouth coverings while playing, players must still wear them on the sidelines and in team gatherings.

     In terms of the actual sport, we have seen other states play their football seasons normally as played in the past years with no problem. The game will still have the same man-to-man contact with no physical or contact restrictions. The only difference is that a large number of referees do not use physical whistles now. They use electronic whistles which actually pose an additional safety hazard as they are harder to hear. During the games, we will also see coaches on the sideline covering their faces. Other than that, the game itself has been normal.

     In a typical year, the football team sets both the Homecoming date and opponent. One of the biggest things Student Council is responsible for is the Homecoming Dance and Pep Rally. Usually, planning starts the first week of school but also even happens for a few weeks in the summer. In a typical year, those things would already be well underway, but this year, things are different. Due to Covid, the Homecoming dance, pep rally, spirit events in the cafeteria, and many other Homecoming week events will not be able to take place due to health and safety guidelines. Whether these events will be rescheduled for the spring, like the football season itself, is too early to say. So for now, the traditional things for Homecoming are on pause.

     What happens is going to be dictated by not just the football team, but also by the health standards. As said by the head of Student Council, Mrs. Kotty, “We will try [to hold a dance], but if we can’t, we won’t. But we will find some way to do something to acknowledge Homecoming and what that will look like… remains to be seen.”

     While the state of Homecoming is still undecided, there is no need to fear as a celebration of some sort is expected to be carried out.