By Faiza Ahmed
This fall season came with its fair share of uncertainties, but challenges were to be expected. Despite dilemmas from personal feelings about safety to having enough players to compete, NHP’s athletes showcased their dedication to their sports.
To play in New York State and Nassau County, athletes who compete in high-risk sports must abide by the Department of Health’s safety precautions. Competitors must wear masks during all parts of the game, including on the sidelines, and should also socially distance themselves during practices and break up into pods. The school also plays a big role in ensuring safety by providing weekly COVID-19 tests, constantly sanitizing equipment, and tracking attendance for games and practices. NHP’s regulations are similar to those at other local schools, but all schools must abide by Nassau County’s laws.
Source by Anna Dekte
Junior Tiffany Wong and sophomores Emily Speter and Kristen Schneider stand with their negative COVID test results on their phones before volleyball practice.
NHP also manages contact tracing among students and fans. If a player contracts COVID-19, those in contact with him or her would have to quarantine as well. The process starts with the athlete getting tested, and in certain cases, they must still quarantine to watch for any possible change in symptoms. When players are missing, coaches become creative when trying to plan out practices.
“It is upsetting when we are missing teammates and we miss them when it has to happen, but it is relieving to know we are practicing in a safe environment and taking all the necessary precautions,” said cheer coach Ms. Westwater.
“While I love playing volleyball, it is a high-risk sport and my family’s safety is a priority over the game...”
The rules might seem unnecessary to some as they have hindered aspects of their season; however, all players are thankful that the administration is working hard to give more students an opportunity to play. Although playing games, getting tested, and wearing a mask is not as serious for some competitors, others feel it is not easy to trust other athletes to follow the county’s COVID-19 regulations. Many students are still concerned about their safety and whether or not the rules are being upheld. Reportedly, some players have said that referees, competitors, and even their own teammates, do not take the precautions seriously.
Source by Olivia Wong
The girls' varsity volleyball team huddles with Coach Rizzuti during their game while depicting the correct way to wear a mask.
“I feel somewhat uncomfortable seeing teammates or competitors not wearing masks correctly. Although some people may not be scared of the virus, I am scared of spreading it to my elder family members. While I love playing volleyball, it is a high-risk sport and my family’s safety is a priority over the game,” said junior volleyball player Sareena Jacob.
In addition, winning games after losing part of the team makes up for those who could not make it to that game. The missing players certainly did not slow the momentum of the sport and it instead started off the varsity football team’s winning streak.
“In week two, we had a lot of the wide receivers quarantine and we were only left with 23 players. Some may see this is a loss, but the team saw it as a motivating factor. That week we were playing Kennedy and coming off a loss from Sewanhaka, the team could have easily lost focus, but instead, with 23 players, the team persevered and won 14-7. It was a great overall win for the team and started the momentum for the rest of the season,” said football player Joe Leonard.
Source by Lauren DiGregorio
The varsity football team stands on the sideline at one of their home games after some players came back from quarantine.
Similar to the football team, NHP’s varsity field hockey team faced difficulties in numbers. About halfway into the season, some girls on the team contracted COVID-19 and had to quarantine for two weeks. The school’s weekly tests proved to be helpful and determined which members of the team were able to continue playing. The team was still permitted to play in matches, but even one case shows the importance of the safety measures and how cautious NHP’s athletes must be.
“It did not affect our season that much. Only the four of us lost two weeks worth of practices and games. We were able to catch up on the plays when we came back and it just made the other girls more cautious about being exposed,” said junior field hockey player Dia Waheed.
As more students are entering the school on a day-to-day basis, the current pandemic is still on their minds, but student athletes at NHP dedicated themselves to their sports this fall season and proved they can still succeed while handling COVID-19 related hurdles and setbacks.