A Win for Student Athletes – Sports Return to In-Person Practices

Many of Addison Trail’s low contact sports are set to switch from holding their practices online to holding them in person beginning on January 25. 

Previously, athletics have been held over Zoom. Many sports practices included daily yoga or workouts and some included learning about techniques used when actually playing the sport. 

“For us, it was mostly workouts,” said senior Shajaira Monzon, who plays badminton. “Our coaches never went easy on us since we all wanted to stay in shape for when we went back,” she said.

Athletes in sports such as bowling, badminton, and gymnastics expressed excitement to return across the board. Many felt that holding sports virtually truly wasn’t the same at all. 

“I miss practicing sports with my teammates and cheering each other on in games and matches,” said junior bowler and badminton player Alicia Lloveras.

Senior athlete Khayr Ahmed agreed. “I really miss just being able to play. There are no birdies, courts, or games when we’re all stuck at home.”

In addition to the lack of playing time a Zoom centered sport comes with, the athletes also cited missing out on the strong bond that makes their teams feel like a family.

“It’s impossible to bond on zoom,” said Ahmed. “No one really wants to be on camera and it doesn’t at all compare to seeing each other, having rallies, or getting a point on each other.”

“Badminton feels like another family to me. It’s been hard not being able to see everyone and how they have improved,” Monzon added.

The struggles of holding sports online made the news of sports’ return especially sweet for the athletes. 

“At first I didn’t believe it. When I remembered how much I miss my teammates and being able to play and I got really excited to go back,” said Ahmed.

Once they are back, the AT’s athletes will have to follow several protocols to ensure safety. Each student will be screened outside of the field house by the athletic trainers at staggered time intervals before practice begins. The screenings will ensure that temperatures are normal and that no students enter the building exhibiting symptoms. For girls bowling, athletes will be screened at the bowling alley and masks will be enforced at all times.

Athletes who feel uncomfortable heading back for practices are able to participate in their sports by continuing to do workouts from home. However, most are ready to go.

Students all agreed that they are more than willing to endure the challenges that the season will come with in order to play. Perhaps the biggest excitement is being able to talk with teammates and coaches once again. 

“We all have something to look forward to,” said Lloveras. “I’m so happy because I will be able to play and practice with my teammates.”

Monzon, being a senior, was thrilled to have one more chance to play.

“I’m happy I’ll get to play again before I leave highschool. Badminton is such a fun sport and everyone there is competitive. We all support one another,” she said.

Ahmed spoke of her excitement about being able to enjoy the simple aspects of badminton. 

“I’m really looking forward to actually being able to hit a birdie with full force. I haven’t done that in months,” she said.

Despite having a very different year and sports season, optimism shines through the Blazers. 

“Sometimes I feel like we are missing out on the normal high school experience but at least we can say it is different for us. “I’m grateful we get one more chance to play,” Monzon said.

After all, pandemic or not, something remains clear about AT’s resilient athletes. They’re just excited to play.