Challenges of Winter vs. Spring Sports


Mikaela Voinov, Staff Writer

Like so many other athletes at Wayne Valley right now, it feels like only a matter of time before my winter sport is temporarily suspended due to teammates testing positive or other COVID-19 related complications. Sports have always been a huge part of my life, and a great way to take my mind off of school and other sources of stress. Now, as if this year hasn’t been hard enough, all three sport seasons have been heavily impacted by the pandemic and its accompanying restrictions. 

That said, I believe that the winter sports have been hit the hardest. I am on the swim team at Wayne Valley; our usual fourteen meets were cut down to six, and six dwindled to four. Even though I am extremely grateful to have a season at all, and even though I am grateful for the continued efforts of the coaches and officials, watching our season be cut short (as meets and events are canceled) has been very disheartening.

Like the swim team, Wayne Valley’s other winter sports have experienced similar restrictions, and some even had to quarantine. On top of these restrictions, winter sports have been especially challenged by weather and other seasonal factors, which fall sports did not have to face. For example, all of the winter sports are inside, which creates a multitude of additional problems: lack of space to distance the athletes, shared facilities, colder weather, and the inability to wear masks during specific indoor sports such as swimming. The swim team practices at the Y, and in previous years, we shared the pool space with Wayne Hills. Even before the pandemic, sharing the pool limited our practice and meet availability. Now, we have to practice every other day, and the girls team practices separately from the boys team. Basketball also has limited court space for practices and games, making it even more difficult to schedule games. Beyond COVID-19, it is currently the height of cold and flu season. All factors considered, the conditions for any winter sport are certainly not ideal. 

In contrast, the potential of semi-normal spring sport seasons looks promising. Like so many events of the past year, the upcoming spring season relies on a relatively low number of positive cases. Still, the winter sports faced many challenges that the spring sports will not. For example, almost every spring sport is outside, which increases up the amount of space for players and enables them to keep their distance. The transmission of COVID-19 is also less likely when players are outdoors. There should be much more availability for games and competitions, as spring sports do not require specific facilities. As the spring season approaches with the promise of warmer temperatures and improving weather, researchers also predict that cases of the virus will begin to gradually decrease—especially as more Americans get vaccinated. This opens up the possibility for additional spectators and a chance to make up for the lost 2020 season.

Here’s to hoping that a (somewhat) normal spring season is on the way!