Winter sports face uncertain road ahead


Elle Commerce

As coronavirus cases rise in Pennsylvania, some winter athletes are concerned that they may not be able to play this season, especially as Manheim Township Middle and High School move into the red phase until after Thanksgiving break. All winter athletes are now required to wear masks, even while in play for the entirety of this season. 

The new regulations that have been put in place to keep athletes and coaches healthy bring unprecedented challenges to contend with. Winter athletes this year are not only competing among themselves, but against the rise of coronavirus cases. On November 11, all open gyms and practices were canceled through Monday, November 16, which is when the district will reassess the risk the sports practices pose.

The hockey locker rooms are closed, forcing the students to change in the parking lot, and the players are struggling to adjust to these changes. The hockey league has already postponed the varsity season until January 1, and they have canceled the JV and middle school seasons. 

 “It really stinks that the hockey team can’t have any team bonding or get to know each other well as we have in the past, which will affect our playing. We are just hoping for a couple of games for the seniors to get in their last season,” said Olivia Yoder, a sophomore ice hockey player at Manheim Township, about new rules put in place at Regency Sports Rink. 

Social distancing and the mandated mask-wearing is creating a new dynamic for these indoor sports. All winter sports, including swim, basketball, indoor track, ice hockey, bowling, and rifle don’t have their athletes wear masks during play, despite being inside. All spectators, coaches, and athletes are required to wear their masks when they are not competing, including when they are on the sidelines.

Due to the delayed start, and confusion surrounding the winter sports, there is a lack of practice time available to athletes to prepare for the season. For example, time trials for the swim team, which normally are held for every class, are now only for freshman and new members. All returning swimmers are being evaluated based on their times from last year. 

Sophomore swimmer Gretta Harnish is currently dealing with the obstacles in place that are challenging her to get the most out of the swim season. “I just hope that we can have any resemblance of a season, just to bring back some normalcy within everyone’s lives. I think it is crucial that everyone does their part to keep everyone safe, by wearing a mask, and following the guidelines,” Harnish said. 

School officials believe that it is important to keep all athletes and coaches healthy. The hard part is finding a balance between keeping everyone safe and still doing everything to make the sports season as normal as possible.