March 2020 brought an abrupt end to spring sports, but now, a year later, sports are making a return, with Marin County first allowing sports with low levels of contact. As of March 23, 2021 Marin county has moved into the orange tier, allowing for a broader range of games to be played across more counties. This enables sports to loosen their restrictions, meaning games can start again and seniors have the opportunity for a final sports season at San Marin.
In order for all sports to be accomodated, and to allow enough field space for all returning sports, the seasons have been shortened limiting athletes to three cohorts including their in-person school cohort. Because of this, some seniors have to decide between sports.
“Luckily, I did not have to choose between baseball and basketball,” senior Sean Burke said. “I did choose to drop cross country. It didn’t feel good to abandon a program that has supported me, but I have been far more committed to baseball.”
In contrast, senior Lauren Houlahan chose lacrosse over soccer because last year’s lacrosse season was cut short.
“It’s a bummer not to be able to play on both teams, but it’s so good to be back on the field,” Houlahan said. “The fact that the seasons are so short is a little disappointing, but it’s definitely better than nothing.”
The shortened seasons and restrictions due to COVID-19 changes the protocol for senior night, affecting how many spectators will be allowed per player, and how the pre-game poster ceremony and signing will go. There are currently no public protocols put into place for senior awards night, but there is communication between San Marin administration and the Marin Health Office to allow for a COVID-19 safe Senior night. Celebrating with fellow classmates and athletes for a final game is a tradition most Senior athletes look forward to.
“I was most excited for my senior night and having my friends and family there,” senior Giovanna Reali said. “But I am happy we at least get a season, sports are important and get us out of the house and help with mental health.”
Sports are important in helping with mental health, and sports starting brings fresh air and social interaction. While person to person contact has enabled sports to go back, many traditions may not happen. Despite the increase in vaccine distribution and tier changes, there is still uncertainty about how or if senior night is going to happen forcing seniors to limit their expectations.
On April 10, San Marin honored 15 football players and 12 cheerleaders in a ceremony that took place on the football field.
“I have no clue how senior night is going to happen for baseball,” senior Zack Chilson said. “I just hope I can have both my parents there.”
COVID-19 restrictions prevent large gatherings of people making it unsafe to do some of the team bonding traditions including team dinners or lunches.
“Hopefully we can do team events like dinners, a lot could change from now, but all I can do is hope that we are allowed to do more,” senior Peter Nebb said.
Fellow senior Josh Foley also expressed that he wishes teams could do team events.
“I really am saddened about not being able to eat team dinners with my boys, but sports starting up again brings joy to my eyes,” Foley said.
Team dinners are a good way for teams to increase camaraderie and help them play well together. However, sports coming back appears to be a good thing for seniors this year.
“I am looking forward to actually being able to play sports again because at first it didn’t look like we would be able to go back,” senior Robbie Rees said.
This spring is when sports have come back, thanks to the vaccine distribution.
“It was nice to not have to stress about sports last semester, but mental health issues related to the pandemic have been very real and reincorporating high school sports is huge in resolving this issue,” Houlahan said.
From left to right: Seniors and captains of the Varsity football team Robbie Rees, Nico Lofrano, Josh Foley, Shawn Arnold, and Eric Meyer stand to the side of the field.