by Cadince Wells-Robinson

This year has been very rough on all of us. Since our school, and our country, shut down on March 13th, we have not had the chance to do many of the things we love. This includes our sports. Whether you’re a spectator or an athlete, it has been a difficult experience. Luckily at the beginning of this school year, some athletes got to experience the sport they love in a real game setting. This only includes Field Hockey, Boys/Girls Cross Country, and Golf. The other sports (Boys/Girls Soccer, Football, and Volleyball) can only practice in this “Fall 1” time. I talked to the school’s own Football Coach and Vice Principal, Mr. Dredge, to hear his opinion on how he feels about the football season being in “Fall 2” (running from the end of February to the beginning of April) and also how he thinks the masks have affected his team and other high school athletes here at FRS. He said “it has been tough. I’ve been helping Mr. Cyr with planning which sports can play when.” He also told me he is “glad what we got out of it.” If his team ends up being able to have a season in “Fall 2” he says that “We’ll take what we can get. The goal is team spirit.” I also asked him his thoughts on the masks and this is what he said, “From what is seen, it doesn’t seem to be too bad. Although it is worse when running, it is causing no harm.”  Mr. Dredge hopes that he can help provide something each season for student-athletes.  For a lot of us athletes that get the real game experience, it is not the same game that we know and love. No spectators in the stands, on the field you have to keep distance and maintain no contact, but one of the biggest factors that have been a challenge is having to wear a mask while playing. Field hockey players can never take off their masks while on the field or on the sidelines. This is very difficult when you are constantly running around and sprinting in a game. Cross country, on the other hand, can take their mask off while running as long as they are maintaining the appropriate distance from other runners. This is helpful in this sport because of the amount of oxygen you are trying to get back into your body to keep yourself going. As the “Fall 1” season comes to an end this week, winter athletes (Boys/Girls Basketball, Boys/Girls Ski Team, and Wrestling) are trying their best to stay optimistic and hopeful that they will also get the chance to experience their sport. I got a few words from our Girls Varsity Basketball Coach, Dave Machon, about the current situation and how he feels about the hopeful upcoming season. “I think Frontier is doing a great job in a very difficult climate. I think one of the most difficult aspects we are facing with the pandemic pertaining to students, athletes, and everyone really is the ambiguity of it all. I’m looking out for 12 players on my basketball team. 20 on JV, and 30 or so on middle school” Coach Machon is not just the Varsity Coach of FRS Girls Basketball, but coaches a middle school Suburban team, and the JV Softball team at FRS. “That’s over 60 individual opinions, fears, and reservations.That’s not including my own kids, my nieces and nephews, my family, and the athletes on the other two teams I coach.” He also told me that this pandemic may “just change the way we treat one another.” Coach Machon has been and is still very optimistic about the winter season, and just wants to make the best out of what he and his players are given. Implementing masks into practice and gameplay is certainly a new and challenging thing athletes are facing, but if they truly love the game they are willing to do whatever it takes to jump back in. I have also been able to speak with a couple of athletes here at our school, and this is what they have to say. “Specifically with masks during Sports, although it’s hard, the difficulty is worth being able to play even if it’s just practice! It’s great for social interaction and physical movement. I’m appreciative of our school being able to make it work because I was able to try a new sport and I don’t think I would have if it weren’t for the practices they are holding this fall.” Another one of our athletes Amelia Sobieski told me how she was feeling about this whole situation. Amelia Sobieski tore her ACL in a summer Field Hockey League game this year, and she told me, “As I have watched from the sidelines of my field hockey team, I can tell that masks are having a huge impact on the athletes that are playing, especially in hot practices or games. Some will come off the field barely being able to breathe because they will be breathing in their masks all the time. Others will get really overheated from breathing back into their faces. But then again I’m certain they would rather wear masks than not be able to play, even if it restricts their breathing at times.” Amelia is hopeful that athletes at our school will be able to play the sports they love this year and hopes especially that there can be a way winter sports can have a season too. As Amelia is missing both her senior Field Hockey and Basketball season, she wants to be there for her fellow teammates during this difficult time. As athletes are finishing up the “Fall 1” season, the winter athletes await for news on what comes next.