Changing the Game

Student athletes experience changes to sports


Bobbie Morrison

The pandemic is teaching students to embrace the memories they are making with their teammates. “I would say the best moments this year have been being able to be a leader,” senior Louis Paule said. “I am a senior and I remember what the seniors have done before me, and I like being able to continue their legacy and create my own.” Paule has set a goal to play to the best of his ability for the football team.

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the community, many adaptations were made to school activities to keep students and their families safe. Student athletes are one group of students who have experienced changes to the sports in which they participate. 

“We have to wear masks whenever we are not playing, and we are not allowed to have a locker room for away games,” senior Louis Paule said. “This can change how some people prepare for a game and where a team goes at half time.” 

While trying to continue school sports, many schools have limited the number of guests that are welcome to watch the game. WHS has attempted to lessen the crowds by allowing four visitors per participant into the stadium, and other schools have different spectator rules. 

“Sometimes there is a limit on spectator attendance,” senior McKenna Deckelman said. “Depending on the meet, there could be no spectators allowed whatsoever and others will have a two spectator per athlete rule.”

Playing sports in the pandemic has caused athletes to experience abrupt cancellations as well. Schools in St. Louis County and other areas have banned contact sports such as football. Due to this restriction, student athletes are limited in the events they are allowed to participate in. 

“A lot of meets and teams have been canceled for the season,” Deckelman said. “The main thought that’s always in the back of our minds is that it could be over at any moment.”

The changes of the pandemic have inspired student athletes to play to their full potential and embrace every opportunity. 

“[The pandemic] taught me that you never know when the last game you’re going to play is,” Paule said. “Play hard because you never know when it will be the last [game].” 

Although COVID-19 causes uncertainty for the teams at WHS, student athletes continue to set goals for themselves for this season. 

“You must run everything as if it’s the last time you get to, with no regrets afterward,” Deckelman said. “As seniors, you know you’re at the end of the line and every moment is even more precious than before.”