Athletics play an important role at Concord Academy for athletes and fans alike. With recent restrictions due to COVID-19,  it’s almost impossible to facilitate organized sports. However, in-person sports are still taking place on campus. To ensure the safety of CA athletes and the broader CA community, the athletics department has taken many measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during athletics. 

The athletics department requires that athletes remain six feet apart and wear masks at all times except for when taking water breaks. Additionally, practices are limited to twice a week, and all sports must be held outside. Each morning before athletics, students must submit a symptom check to lower the chances of sick students participating. When they arrive at practice, all students must report their location to aid in contact tracing. In addition, all sports equipment is heavily sanitized by the athletics staff after each practice.

Many athletes, including soccer player Rohin Nguyen ’21, appreciate the effort the administration has put into making safe sports a reality. “I love the fact that the administration is trying to bring us together as a community by having on-campus sports practices,” says Rohin. 

While coaches and staff have done their very best to promote fun, competitive, and formative play through drills and games, certain aspects of sports cannot be safely replicated under current conditions. For many fall sports, proximity and physicality are necessary components of competitive or even casual play. Because of safety measures in place, team sports cannot do scrimmages or defensive drills. Worst of all, games cannot be held for the entirety of the fall season. 

Many players, including Rohin, are understandably disappointed by the lack of competition. “I wish we could have a more competitive edge or something to work towards in terms of competition, even just scrimmages,” he says. As an avid athlete myself, I understand the importance of scrimmages and games for the morale of a team. Teams work towards games as a collective which helps boost team morale, inspires individual growth substantially, and allows players to create memories that last a lifetime. For now, athletes must make the most of what they have and use this time to build individual skills and increase fitness, especially boarding students who are missing out on in-person sports entirely. While many boarding students are on plans for fitness and skill, the facilities and opportunities CA provides its athletes are irreplicable at home. 

Athletics will likely be one of the last things to return to normal, and the coming months will test the patience and resolve of many athletes. Nevertheless, I’m grateful for the opportunity to start playing again, as are many other athletes like Rohin.