By Kaitlyn Aasheim
For many students, sports are an escape from school and stress. Last year, amid the pandemic, high school sports were shut down. Recently, New York State gave the ‘Okay’ for athletes that play high-risk sports to start playing again. These sports include basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and boys’ lacrosse. Players throughout New York were thrilled to hear this news.
Last March, the COVID-19 pandemic affected student-athletes all around the world. Flashforward to almost one year later, athletes have still not been able to play all of the sports they love. From being active all year-long to suddenly halting on a Friday in March, athletes have waited for the day that they can play their beloved sports once again.
For many athletes, their lives revolve around sports. Angelina Bendetti, a volleyball and softball player at Wantagh High School, states, “I’m happy I finally get to play again. It has been over a year since I have played volleyball for my school, and I missed it tremendously. After having my softball and volleyball seasons both canceled, I have never been more excited to step back on the court again.”
Athletes benefit in numerous ways by playing high school sports. Public School Review, a blog about high schools across the country, states that athletes' fitness and health often benefit greatly from playing sports. With the absence of these high-risk sports, students became less physically fit and became more unhealthy.
Although athletes are eager to play, they also want to make sure to stay healthy. Athletes do not want their athletic seasons to be postponed again, so they plan on taking all of the safety precautions to remain safe.
Kaitlyn Kelly, a basketball and volleyball player at Oyster Bay High School, states, “I think students’ safety should come first.”
Student athletes’ social lives are also important. According to the United Nations, “Sport has long been considered a valuable tool for fostering communication and building bridges between communities and generations.” Many athletes meet their best friends through sports. With the absence of sports, students are not able to socialize and meet new people. Athletics help students create unbreakable friendships.
The elimination of sporting events due to the recent pandemic has negatively impacted athletes’ abilities to socialize.
Students feel that due to not being able to see their friends or teammates in person, their ability to socialize has worsened. Athletes believe that they are not going to be able to communicate as well anymore.
Marissa Iemmiti, volleyball, basketball, and softball player at Oyster Bay High School, states, “It didn’t feel normal just going to school in person or online then having no sports to do. Especially on remote days I didn’t see any of my friends. I was not able to see anyone on remote days. With sports, I am able to see my friends and socialize with them.”
The cancellation of sporting events has also affected athletes' mental health. Louisville Education, a group of mental health experts, said that students have been working toward a goal, and because of these eliminations, they may not be allowed to continue playing their sports for a while. Students may feel that due to the hiatus from sports, they have gotten worse at the sports they play. This could affect not only their mental health, but also their confidence.
Student-athletes on Long Island have been eager to bring back sports since March 2020. Not having sports for almost an entire year has impacted athletes immensely. Adolescents are excited to be back, even if it means wearing masks and social distancing in order to play.
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