Post Fall Sports Reflection

Credit: Chris Taggart
Sophomore Danny O’Brien prepares to escape the pocket.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, almost every activity has been limited and/or changed, including fall sports. Hackley students were fortunate enough to have their seasons, despite COVID-19 restrictions. There were no competitions with other schools, and social distancing and other safety precautions had to be undertaken. Although it was a different experience, the athletes were lucky to gather with their teammates and coaches at the start of a difficult school year.

Riley Hite, a sophomore on varsity soccer, stated that the thing she found the most challenging was not competing with other teams. She said it lowered motivation and the hype of game days was gone. However, varsity soccer did still have scrimmages and they really enjoyed those. Lots of changes were made, but the most difficult part, according to Riley, was masks. She stated that although they are an essential part of the new life we are all living, they made it so much more tiring to run and play. A highlight of the season for the team was the Dave Allison game, which is an annual tradition to play against another school, but they re-created it with just them. Riley says that it was a motivation booster and a super fun way to get closer with the team.

Football is a sport that involves a lot of contact, and sophomore Danny O’Brien reflected on the season with a longing for the normal season that he missed. “We could not play the sport to its full extent,” which was disappointing for Danny. As an athlete that takes his sports very seriously, he found it difficult to have a season without real games. However, a highlight for Danny was playing a game “under the lights” for the last practice of the season; because he enjoyed the team coming together so everyone could play side by side. Danny really enjoys being on the team and is close with his teammates, so he also missed connecting with the other players in the locker room. Also, preseason could not happen this year, which Danny feels prevented the team from bonding before school, especially with this year’s new freshman. Although they did not get to formally meet each other in preseason, Danny says they all came together with the hope that they would have a spring Football season. “We all held on to the hope of a spring season, and everyone was having a great time so it flew by quickly.”

Catie O’Rourke, a sophomore on varsity field hockey, and Jenny Leffler, the sophomore dean and varsity field hockey coach, also had things to say about this new season. Coach Leffler said, “the lack of competition was obviously the hardest, and in the beginning, we had to be very spread out.” This is a common problem for most sports because social distancing was very necessary. However, Coach Leffler said that the players were still so excited to play all the time and handled the lack of a season very well. “Even things that they didn’t need to get hyped about, like the mile, they did and every player did a great job,” Coach Leffler said.
Catie agreed, saying that the challenges even helped them bond. Whether it was mask-wearing or no games, these challenges brought the team together and helped them bond. Catie said, “Any time you put a ball and a stick in my hand I’ll be happy,” and that same attitude is shown throughout the rest of the team.
All of the athletes at Hackley had their seasons affected by COVID-19, but it is clear that everyone was thankful to have their season regardless. Although wearing masks and social distancing while playing has been difficult, there was a feeling of gratitude among athletes who were able to have a season.