Winter Sports Has Fewer Restrictions in ’21-’22

Sara Haas ('22), Orbit Contributor

With the end of RMHS winter sports tryouts last week, they are back and ready for another season. But still amid a worldwide pandemic, what are the rules and regulations that will continue to keep the community safe?

Last year, many of the winter sports were moved to the spring. Wrestling was moved to be in the spring with hopes of fewer positive covid cases. Basketball was played with many restrictions. Sophomore girls basketball player Brooke Pulpi recalls, “Last year practices were only allowed for three days a week; we weren’t allowed to ride on buses for away games, and we weren’t allowed to enter the gym for practice more than 15 minutes before the scheduled starting time.”

Indoor track was also very different last year. Senior and captain of RMHS varsity girls winter track, Jackie Caraco remembers. “Last year we mostly were outside with masks on.”

After some very successful fall season sports with lifted rules, many wonder what the regulations will be for the winter sports, which are all played indoors. According to the MIAA, “Student-athletes, coaches, and officials that are indoors shall be masked.” This rule includes spectators but does not limit the number as last year did. Like fall sports, buses will be transporting athletes to away games provided each person wears a mask while riding the bus. Sanitizing is not a requirement anymore for basketball either. 

The difference for athletes between this and last year is huge.  Pulpi states, “We don’t have to social distance on the bench and some of the rules playing-wise are different. We are back to doing normal foul shots and out-of-bounds baseline plays. We are also allowed to come more than 15 minutes early into the gym and use the locker room.”

While many of the rules have changed on the field of play, off-the-field regulations have also decreased. Jackie Malley, senior and captain of the girls’ varsity basketball team states, “I’d say the biggest difference this year is to do team bonding activities together.” Pre-covid, all teams, no matter the season, would participate in numerous team bonding activities. Pregame pasta parties, apple picking, team sleepovers were just some of the many activities taken away last year.

Although there are still a good amount of covid-imposed regulations, all teams have been able to get back to a semi-normal season. In the words of Malley, “Wearing masks is definitely not ideal, but if it means the season goes smoothly and keeps everyone safe, then I’m happy to wear one.”