Friends Select Sports Continue Despite COVID-19

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Photo by Rachel Luce ’21

All Friends League competitions will be postponed until at least January 1, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As opposed to normal schedules, each sports season will have just three weeks of practice and no games, following strict COVID-19 protocols. Consequently, students must adjust to a new normal of competitive athletics at Friends Select. 

During each season’s three weeks of practice-only sports, athletes and coaches will at all times be required to wear a mask and practice proper social distancing. Only 50% of each team is permitted to practice at once. 

Due to these protocols, coaches will have to revise their methods for team preparation. For contact sports like field hockey and soccer, defensive drills will prove challenging, as social distancing protocols forbid close coverage. Nevertheless, Friends Select’s Athletic Director Bill Klose hopes “to see athletes helping each other, having fun, and taking advantage of every opportunity to play.” 

Athletes must also adapt to these unprecedented conditions, needing to be more independent than ever before. Because they will practice with just half of their teammates only twice a week, athletes will be required to work hard on their own in order to take advantage of their two days of in-person practice each week. Varsity Field Hockey Head Coach Emily Gallagher emphasized the importance of independent work-ethic: “for a player to make an impact on the team, it has to come from more of them stepping up and wanting to be a good athlete and teammate on their own.” 

Even with these new protocols and stringent requirements, many Friends Select athletes are excited to start playing. Peter Ryan ‘21, says he is “looking forward to a return to normalcy. Having sports practice is part of the school routine and it will be nice to have that back.” 

While the beginning of the sports season is not exactly “normal,” Margot Schneider ‘22, says: “I want to take advantage of the limited time we have per season to work on basics, conditioning, and other things I haven’t had much time to focus on in the past.”

While the Friends League has dictated that no intraleague games are permitted until January 2021 at the earliest, some member schools will play games against non-Friends League schools before Friends League play resumes. 

Because the Friends Select teams in 2021 will not have practiced together, as a single unit, games will essentially bring two separate teams (Brown Group and Gold Group) together to play as one. Teams will need to work harder and faster than ever to figure out each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how to play together. Bill notes that “the teams and players that work hard now, when no one is watching, will be the ones who are successful in the end, when everyone is watching.”