Coaches During a Pandemic
By: Amy Boehm
Wheaton North has been incredibly lucky in regards to its sports teams this school year. As of now, we have not had to miss a single practice or game due to the pandemic. While we may be fortunate in that regard, coaching a team during these challenging times is no easy task. I was able to reach out to Mr. Eaton, the girls’ basketball coach; Mr. Anderson, the girls’ cross country and girls’ distance track coach; and Mr. Fisher, the athletic director, to get some more information on these sports and their seasons.
A big downside to COVID-19 sports is the necessary shortening of seasons. Despite this, practices for athletes are just as rigorous as they were pre-pandemic, but with the added challenge of face masks and social distancing. Mr. Fisher remarks that “Our Falcon Athletes and Coaching staff have done a great job of following and promoting the new COVID-19 protocols that have been added to our daily routines.” The enactment of these safety measures at all times has had a large, and entirely positive, impact on the smooth running seasons we have had so far, and the coaches do a great job of encouraging these habits.
There are without a doubt stark differences between this year and previous years’ coaching; however, many coaches are just pleased to have been allowed a season in the first place. Mr. Anderson says, “In cross country, we could not do the social, team-building traditions we have. That was a bummer for the team. However, being able to have a season was much more important than those traditions.” Mr. Eaton agrees, and both coaches regret the lost opportunities for their teams. Another thing both coaches are in agreement with is the best part of coaching: Building relationships with students and getting to experience successes with them. “It is so much fun to be able to be around them and enjoy this whole process. They are an amazing group of girls who are all my daughters,” says Mr. Eaton. Knowing they will be able to continue these relationships even despite the difficulties associated with the pandemic is a reassuring thought for all.
All the coaches I talked to have acknowledged the hardships and struggles faced during this year's sports. However, they have also looked at our success and luck in allowing any seasons to occur. Following new guidelines that have been published recently, the school is working towards getting more families and supporters of Wheaton North athletics involved again. In addition, sports that had to be pushed back in the fall, such as football and boys soccer, will soon be able to have their seasons. Mr. Fisher is optimistic about future sports continuing on in the successful way they have been thus far. Until then, our coaches, staff, and athletes will continue to do a great job at representing Wheaton North!