Rising COVID-19 cases across Bay Area hinders winter sports schedules

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Varsity basketball warms up to play Woodside Priory, a game that was postponed a week due to several positive Priory COVID-19 cases.

In the last few months, the rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has affected all aspects of life. Upwards of 800,000 cases have been reported each day since December when the first Omicron case was reported in the U.S. It is known that this new variant is highly transmittable, so high school sports have felt the impact of this recent outbreak.

NDB’s winter sports teams, basketball and soccer have been experiencing the effects of Omicron through delayed or canceled games or exposure to players who have tested positive. Depending on the situation, entire teams can be forced to quarantine, test, or lose practice time.

As an indoor sport, basketball has been hit the hardest by this new spike in cases. Masks are strictly enforced, but even then, close contact is inevitable. When a player on either team tests positive or there is a major exposure to COVID-19, the upcoming game is canceled and must be rescheduled. Repeatedly canceling games has created multiple complications for the team and the coaches this season.

“[COVID-19] changes the schedule each week, there is currently no consistency to our season,” said varsity basketball head coach, Samantha Rossi. “Mentally, it is the harder adjustment. Players love to play, coaches love to practice. Players get excited when it’s game day. When you find out the night before or even a few hours before that the game is canceled, it’s a letdown. We get locked in when we have a plan, but when that changes, it takes a few days to readjust.”

The mentality of the players and coaches approaching each game is not the only problem that the basketball team faces.

Logistically, to reschedule a game is getting more difficult as there is a referee shortage due to all the canceled/rescheduled games as well as fewer days on the calendar to fit games in. You don’t want to play 3 to 4 games a week so options are low”

— Samantha Rossi

“Logistically, to reschedule a game is getting more difficult as there is a referee shortage due to all the canceled/rescheduled games as well as fewer days on the calendar to fit games in. You don’t want to play 3 to 4 games a week so options are low,” Rossi continued.

Ultimately, the basketball team has been working their hardest each day to prepare for their inconsistent game schedule, but are getting robbed due to the inability to reschedule canceled games. The annual “Cat Fight” game against Woodside Priory, the most exciting game of the season, was even canceled. It would not be surprising for the soccer team to be affected in the same way in the coming month, or perhaps the spring sports teams that begin their season in February.

Because soccer is an outdoor sport, their protocol when a teammate or opponent tests positive looks different than that of basketball.

“We must arrive at the fields wearing masks and can take them off while we are actively playing. When a teammate tests positive, we all monitor for testing, and if we are vaccinated we may continue to practice,” said varsity soccer player Cora Jolls.

Athletes at NDB have been working hard to adapt to the unpredictable sports schedules over the last two years, which is just one of the reasons why complying with the masking and testing policies is so important for athletes to be able to participate in the sports seasons that they deserve.