In a time where nothing is normal, fall sports are just one of the many traditions being affected by the corona virus pandemic. From summer practices being put on a two week hiatus to football season being postponed, every fall sport at Portage Central has been impacted.
On August 14, just four days after the start of official practices, the Michigan High School Sports Association announced that they would be moving the 2020 fall football season to spring 2021. Because of its level of close player-to-player contact, football is considered a high risk sport for the spread of the virus. MHSAA has moved the season in order to lessen the spread of coronavirus in hopes that by spring, the pandemic will be more under control and close contact sports will be safer to play.
Senior Meet Patel has been playing football for the school since his freshman year. “I was surprised the MHSAA announced the postponement so soon. We kind of saw it coming, but we were expecting at least another week of practices,” Patel said. “It’s going to be weird playing in the spring, but I’m just happy to play football whenever I can.”
As a senior, this news hit Patel even harder than some others. This fall was supposed to be his final season playing for the school and Patel was planning to go out with a bang.
“It’s a shame this had to happen during senior year because I was really looking forward to one last regular season with the team. I know we have to do what we need to to keep everyone as safe as possible, though.”
Other sports however, are beginning to compete. On August 21, our cross country team had their first meet at Portage West Middle School, and men’s tennis have already had a few matches.
“Most of our athletic events are open to spectators right now, but we have some safety protocols. We are requesting that anyone who chooses to attend an athletic event wears a mask and stays 6 feet apart from others,” Athletic director Joe Wallace said.
While sports like volleyball and swimming can’t get into their designated facilities quite yet, they are continuing to hold outdoor practices and conditionings. Senior Isabelle Koenigsknecht is a member of the volleyball team.
“It stinks that we can’t be in the gym yet, but I’m just glad I get to practice with my team, wherever that may be. It has been weird practicing on the football field, but it is cool to see everyone work together and make it work.”
Though not a single sport at Portage Central seems normal right now, our mustangs are finding a way. With hundreds of student athletes showing up to socially distant practices, and dozens of coaches and staff putting in extra effort just to make a season happen, everyone is beyond grateful for the adaptability shown this summer with athletics.
All of our fall sports are subject to MHSAA guidelines, which can change any day, so keep up to date on the MHSAA website or with @pcmustangsports on Instagram.
PC: Gwen De Young