Preseason norms shift during a pandemic


Jordan Dooley

The gates to enter into the Carlmont football stadium display the COVID-19 field restrictions.

This year, Carlmont sports are looking much different than expected. Typically, student-athletes are expected to prepare for the upcoming season by participating in voluntary offseason workouts and regularly practicing with their teammates. Then, tryouts would begin soon after. However, this year, coaches, teammates, and directors had to make significant changes and additions to keep the athletics program running smoothly. 

Coaches at Carlmont ask for the player’s participation and involvement in the 2021 sports season, although chances for games are low. More, all conditionings and practices follow the COVID-19 protocols for sports teams to keep everyone safe and healthy during this pandemic. 

Before student-athletes can be allowed into practice, they must have their temperature taken, wear a mask, and sustain low-contact with each other. Then, they proceed into their conditioning pods. Conditioning pods were created to maintain social distance while also keeping the athletes’ contamination to a minimum. Typically, each team will have two pods, and those pods will not intermix. 

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California has designated a certain number of sports that are eligible to play during the purple tier. For Carlmont, the sports scheduled to start practices on Feb. 1 are cross country, swimming, girls tennis, and girls golf. People like Grant Steunenberg, the administrative vice principal in charge of athletics at Carlmont, are eager to see the restart of more sports this season. 

“By slowly moving down the color tiers, more kids can start participating in skill training and conditioning this season,” Steunenberg said.

Students are urging to start their sports again. However, all student-athletes at Carlmont are expected to have the right attitude, work hard, and follow safety precautions. During drills, athletes do their best with their facial coverings on. For instance, the football team at Carlmont has a very rigorous practice schedule that consists of lifting weights, conditioning, catching, and route-running. All sports, including football, must wear a mask, even during drills and workouts.

“Even though there is a chance there will be no games this season, I want to be as well prepared as possible for next season, and I always make sure I have a good attitude during practice,” said Luca Byers-Mora, a sophomore on the JV football team.

After a long break in Carlmont athletics, the staff is prepared for more scheduled practices and hoping for this year’s game season. With the stay-at-home order just being lifted on Jan. 25, more purple-tier sports will restart. The restrictions and guidelines are still present during practice. However, with the stay-at-home order being lift, more student-athletes can join teams. Athletic director Patrick Smith says his main goal for everyone this season is to be flexible.

“My big message to the students is just to enjoy this season and have fun because creating experiences is a big portion of being a part of a high school sports team,” Smith said.