During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Marlborough athletics department has made many adjustments to allow athletes to participate in in-person practices before the season begins. Many athletes have not been able to practice their sport during the pandemic, so they have tried to bring as many students on campus as possible, while also keeping a safe environment to allow them to practice before tryouts or sports seasons in the spring.
The athletics Department has to follow the CIF and LA Department of Health guidelines, which are not allowing indoor practices as of now, so the space on campus is limited. They eventually want all athletes on campus, but because that is unable to happen right now, they have prioritized the athletes that play fall sports for this year and who have tryouts or competitions soonest. This includes volleyball, cross country and water polo. All of these fall sports started practicing on campus at the beginning of the school year. Volleyball and water polo practice two times a week, and cross country practices once a week. Recently, basketball, lacrosse, tennis and softball have also started practicing on campus, and the athletics Department is hoping to bring track and field on campus soon.
“We’re not sure what it’s going to look like from a competition standpoint. Obviously, the priority is making sure everyone has the opportunity to be active and be social, and you want to keep that mindset of ‘if it’s going to happen, to stay motivated, and stay into it, and stay in shape for when the time does come,’ so we want to make sure to keep those opportunities for everyone,” Carlin said.
To keep everyone safe, there are many restrictions. These restrictions include: players must wear masks at all times, and students are encouraged to touch the balls as little as possible. For example, volleyball players are only allowed to touch the same ball as the other person they are practicing with. Similarly, tennis players are not allowed to touch any of the balls, meaning that only the coaches pick up the balls and they are not allowed to practice serves. Also, lacrosse players have two to three balls for themselves, and are encouraged to pick up the balls with their sticks instead of their hands. Additionally, students are required to fill out an on-campus screening questionnaire, and temperatures are taken upon arrival to campus. Students keep the same partner throughout all of the practices and are encouraged to be with someone that, if possible, is a sibling. There are cones set up six feet apart where athletes drink water and they are encouraged to stay six feet apart while practicing.
Although there are restrictions, many students are happy that they are able to practice with other players for the first time in months.
“I haven’t been able to play in the past few months, so I think that it’s very important that we’re going back to play sports because it gives me a chance to practice with other people before tryouts, as well as an opportunity to meet some of the new students in our grade,” Novin Sheybani ‘24 said.
The fall teams’ tryouts were supposed to happen before winter break, but have been pushed back to after the break. The spring sport’s tryout dates have remained the same, as all of them will happen during February. The athletics department is still unsure what will happen after winter break, given that the CIF decides whether or not there will be a season where students can play against other schools. They recently issued a statement on Nov. 16, stating that the current guidelines remain in effect, but they will most likely send out another one in the coming weeks because of the new lockdown procedures.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to practice some of the other things that you might not be focused on when you’re in a competition, or a meet, or a match, or a game,” Carlin said. “You get to really work on your own fundamentals and other types of skills and getting to know your teammates better too because you’re not solely focused on competition because you’re just training right now. So, it’s kind of nice in that sense to have that comradery and togetherness that everyone is missing right now.”