Friday, September 11, 2020

The fall season: A reporter's perspective

The Windham High School volleyball team gathers
before a match last season. The start of a new fall
sports season could begin soon if hurdles with
state agencies are overcome and health and
safety measures are implemented.
By Matt Pascarella
The Maine Principals Association (MPA) and the state are going back and forth over whether or not there should be a fall sports season and how to safely accomplish this during a pandemic. The MPA released a statement Wednesday, Sept. 9 and by the time this is read a decision will hopefully have been made and we can all stop waiting. The preseason has been postponed a few times and it is now set to begin on Sept. 14. As a reporter, who will be entering his fourth season reporting Windham and Raymond sports, I’d like to share with you my feelings on the possibility of a season. 
You might think as a sports reporter I’d be all in for a season, but it’s not a simple ‘yes or no.’ Of course, I want to get back out there, report on games and watch the kids play again. Like many, I miss it. The coronavirus has brought up some real concerns when it comes to coverage. I worry about coming in close contact and am no longer able to interview players and coaches the same way I use to. I won’t be able to stand close to the team while photographing and will have to be cognizant of my distance when I’m close(r) to a player on the field or court. When it comes to coronavirus, nothing is as easy as it used to be., while I have concerns and even some anxiety about covering fall sports, there is an aspect of having all seasons that I hadn’t considered and that’s the mental health of the athletes. Sports are an outlet for many kids and a way to learn values, skills, make friends and understand the importance of teamwork. This ‘new normal’ (which is not at all normal) will be a big adjustment and probably
will require some retooling and rethinking along the way.
So, where do I stand on the fall season? Well, like I said, I’m nervous about getting back out there, because this is a contagious virus that could be easily caught, even if you’re doing all the right things. Ultimately though, I think there should be a season. Sports are about the kids. It’s important for the student athletes, who already missed out on spring season, to get the chance to play in the fall. Like I wrote in my last update on the status of the season, this is completely uncharted territory. At the very least, the season should be given a chance, if it turns out it won’t work, then at least we know.
As long as athletes and coaches are smart about their interactions and they follow the guidelines set by the state and the Maine Center for Disease Control, it’s beneficial for student athletes to get back out there.
Hopefully, they get that opportunity. <

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