The Drive to Thrive

Ava Wells, Staff

Sports seasons this year have changed from ones past. COVID guidelines have affected everyone of our lives significantly. The high school sports teams are no different. They have have made numerous changes and have adapted to many different challenges this fall. Some athletes consider the changes they have made a hardship, while others see it as an obstacle they can overcome.

The COVID guidelines are different for each activity. In volleyball, the girls have to wear masks throughout practice unless on the court doing a six-on-six drill. In addition, they have to wear masks while on the bench during games. The other changes made this season from past seasons are that after each set during a game, the teams do not switch sides or benches. Regulations for masks don’t just exist on the court, but include team travel.  The team is required to wear their masks on the bus as well. Football, softball, and cheer also have to follow that rule for travel to and from the school. However, the football team doesn’t have to wear masks throughout  their practices and or during games. They are only required to wear the masks during games if the opposing team requests it. The football playesrs are also not to shower at the same time as one another and are not to drink out of the same water bottles. These are just some of the regulations that exist for our sports teams.  This pandemic affects fall activities outside of sports as well, such as cheer. “Cheerleaders are required to wear masks during sporting events held indoor, and while performing any stunts,” senior Lauren Titus stated. With so many restrictions in place, some of the seniors and team captains see these and are understandly frustrated by them, but others have refused to be stopped by them, determined to reach their full potential.

Taylor Wiser, the senior member on the volleyball team, says that playing with a mask tends to make it hard to breathe during fast paced drills and conditioning, and even causes some players to get light headed and have headaches. On a similar note,  the cheer squad captain Lauren Titus states that the “masks contribute to a lack of motivation among the cheer squad.” The masks muffle the voices of the squad members when yelling, making it a necessity to yell louder to compensate.  In spite of these hardships, this year’s seniors haven’t let it affect their performance. One senior who embodies this is Rudy Sanko. A senior on the football team, Rudy doesn’t see the restrictions as much of a setback; he sees them as an obstacle to overcome. Rudy stated, “It won’t affect a true athlete that is on the team to win and improve.” He says the regulations don’t limit the  bonding aspect of the team. Rudy sees COVID as a way to demonstrate character on the team rather than an annoyance that hinders the players ability to play or their outlook. “Our team is just sucking it up and dealing with the adversity that comes toward us. We aren’t going to let it affect the way we perform,” says Rudy. Both Taylor Wiser or Rudy Sanko believe that for now, the precautions in place are the best option for maintaining the safety of the players.

The positive attitudes of these seniors surpasses just their views on masks and playing their sport. The positive attitudes have been applied to their outlook on activities during their senior year. It would be silly to ask these seniors not to worry about COVID affecting their senior year, but in spite of that worry they remain optimistic. Taylor Wiser has a positive outlook; she was disappointed about having to deal with COVID guidelines her senior year, “It isn’t the greatest thing, but at least our team still gets the opportunity to participate in volleyball.” Sanko’s outlook was similarly optimistic. He said, “I’m not disappointed because all of the challenges that face me and my team just cause us to work harder and learn to deal with it.” Sanko also stated, “I’m just going to make the best with what I’ve got before I leave this place.” All of them are doing just that. 

The athletes that are competing and performing this fall have had to make many changes to their seasons. The seniors, along with all the other athletes, are learning to endure the challenges the pandemic has brought them. The bright side during this time of COVID is the positive attitudes of not only the seniors, but all those involved in activities. They are grateful for the opportunity to play, and despite the challenges COVID has created the Holdrege athletes are learning to rise above it all.