Game On?


Amy Steward

On Tuesday afternoon, the Champion Football team warmed up before practice. After the recent pandemic, they had to change their normal practices to follow Covid regulations and guidelines.

Sports players are in limbo right now as the likelihood of being able to play this year seems increasingly uncertain. With new rules, precautions, and regulations affecting each team differently, the question of “Game on?” is hanging over everybody’s heads.

Since March, sports have been canceled, altered, and put on hold due to the spread of coronavirus. Now that schools are reopening, athletics are beginning to start as well. However, numbers of confirmed cases are still on the rise, which could potentially spell disaster for Boerne ISD—one of the few districts in the area going back to school in person—as well as its sports and extracurriculars.

“We just want to get to the first practice, and then the first scrimmage, then the first game, just because how things are going you’re not promised tomorrow,” Head Coach Keith Kaiser said. “There’s more things you took for granted in the past you don’t anymore. And what’s scary is sometimes those things slip by—every day we learn something new. You try to figure it all out, and then you get out to a practice or you see a locker room, like ‘Oh, here’s a problem area we need to fix.'”

Kaiser’s team, being one of the largest organizations on campus with dozens of players, has had to work extra hard in order to keep its athletes safe.

“We follow the protocols very strictly,” junior football player Cade Gault said. “We wear masks all the time unless we are actively participating in a drill. Only a certain amount of people are allowed in the weight room and we sanitize and spray down everything after an athlete uses it.”

Unfortunately, some sports are already having difficulties adjusting to new regulations and keeping their athletes unaffected. Freshman future volleyball team member Erin Martin, and many other team members and their families, were worried about the reported coronavirus cases this summer.

“[Champion High School] hosted a strength and conditioning camp… but I did not attend,” Erin said.

In response to athlete’s concerns about exposure, volleyball tryouts were postponed. Like football, many other athletic teams including volleyball have taken precautions to help eliminate an outbreak.

“We are required to wear masks… we are also required to wipe down everything afterwards.” Erin said. “We are required to stay apart or wipe down any lockers or the areas we have used. We are also encouraged to wear masks when changing if possible.”

Regulations have been put into effect for conditioning, practices, and preparations before the season starts. However, many factors of games are unpredictable and hard to control. Outside components such as opposing athletes and coaches, as well third-party referees and officials, must be taken into consideration. Some sports, like basketball, have yet to start practice, but already have preliminary guidelines in place for how the games will look.

“Our season does not start until fall, so we are not sure on our game schedule,” sophomore basketball player Addison Hankins said. “But the players and coaches on the sideline, including any fans, will have masks on.”

For this semester, teams with spring seasons, such as softball, have put similar safety regulations to fall sports in place, even though their first games won’t take place for months.

“Up until we start practicing we must have masks or be socially distanced,” softball senior Madeline Guanio said. “We work hard to remind everyone to stay distanced and we hold each other accountable.”

Many students’ investment in their sports dates back to pre-school. For those who will not go on to play in college, their goal has always been to compete as a varsity athlete. This is the final chance for the Class of 2021. If the game is on, Chargers will be ready.

“This is it. This high school season, which they’ve worked hard for and had those aspirations and dreams of getting to this point, […] all hangs in the balance of this,” Coach Kaiser said.