First home football game after over a year (Photo: Tessa Tappe, The Puma Prensa)
by Tessa Tappe, staff writer
After months of following mandatory protocols, Maria Carrillo High School athletes have made a return, ready to play. Since late last year, COVID-19 has led to many restrictions and rules for athletes to follow regarding the virus. However, things are changing and athletes have done a lot to ensure everyone’s safety.
Routines and norms that have formed over quarantine are shifting as requirements are beginning to relax. The quick adjustment is allowing athletes to play what they love most for Carrillo. Football, tennis, cross country and soccer are outdoor sports taking place that no longer require masking or social distancing. This is a huge step considering the vast difference between now and last year’s regulations.
Last year, masks were mandatory for practice as well as games for most of the season. Only near the end did athletes have the choice to not wear them depending on whether or not the player felt comfortable without a mask. This remains true now. Being socially distanced played a large role in the procedure as well. This led to some difficulty considering most sports caused many players to be close in contact. MCHS sophomore and cross country runner Myrea Heaps had this experience. “All last year, we had to social distance and had to pull our masks up whenever we were passing people while running,” Heaps said. Additionally, sports schedules were altered. For Heaps, her practices were at different times of the day than they are now. MCHS sports have undergone a lot of change in the past couple years.
Now, Heaps and many other athletes no longer have to follow these restraints. For instance, no sports are required to follow any sort of COVID requirements. “Not having to wear masks as we run is so freeing and easier for everyone,” said Heaps. As the season goes on, all students in sports will continue to adjust to the change and thrive as they take advantage of the lack of regulations.
Spectators have also been affected by change. For one, the bleachers are now full of students without masks or social distancing, which is something that hasn’t been done in over a year. “Being able to go to my first high school football game after missing it all my first year, was an overall great experience especially without masks,” said sophomore Sofia Yocum. “The atmosphere is as if nothing has changed,” she added. The pandemic may have affected many but hasn’t changed what MCHS students do best, supporting each other through spirited cheers and themes.
Though the lockdown lasted several months leading to some side effects, athletes and sports have finally come back. Most importantly, the MCHS Pumas have come together to create a safer environment and enjoy the return of sports whether on the field or in the bleachers.