Photo courtesy of Pinterest

A football field.

         “I was ecstatic when I learned that we were going to have a season. It filled a huge void in our community that had been created a year ago.  As far as the timing goes, It’s never too soon to do what you love,” exclaimed, Jason Sachlis, Freshman Football Coach.

         Since COVID hit last year in March, sports have experienced a huge decline. However, Westfield High school, along with many other schools, have relaunched their sports. Football and Cheerleading have been set in motion. Students are excited to finally play again while still maintaining their safety precautions. 

         “Athletes were expected to fill out a form before attending practice each day so we could remind them to be mindful of their health status and contact trace if someone developed symptoms,” explained Sachlis.

         Although health rules are being enforced, some still wonder if it is too soon to relaunch the sports. “Sports and other activities for high school students has been very positive and needed to happen,” explained Kyle Simmons, Head Coach.

         To ensure their students are safe and healthy, Westfield’s freshman football teams equipment has to be sanitized before and after practices and every 45 minutes at a minimum. The county has provided velcro helmet masks  worn across the face mask which is a nice option instead of the mask directly on the face of the athlete. Athletes are instructed to take all clothing home each night and wash it before wearing it again.  They have issued additional practice uniforms to help alleviate the additional stress on laundry doers at home. During games and practices, time in the school building has been limited, as well as the lack of time spent in the weight room. 

         Sachlis explained, “for our first game which was all the way at West Potomac, we exceeded our allotted 60 and requested an additional 19 tickets to fulfill demand.  That is unheard of for a home or away game for FFB.” .

         “I expected the crowd to be limited due to Covid. The games were quieter, and did not feel as energetic and hype as it normally would have. But towards the end of the season we caught a glimpse of what could be for next year because they started allowing more people to come. So during those games we felt more of the crowd’s energy,” stated Toviel Jung, 12.

         “I feel like it was the perfect timing to have cheer during February and March. People were already familiar with the guidelines and having to wear masks so it wasn’t anything too new,” explained Nanami Shibuya, 12

         Westfield’s cheer team is following similar covid guidelines as the football team and according to Shibuya, “the VHSL guidelines were changing day to day but I feel like that’s what we all expected it to be like.

         Although they are extremely different sports, both have had an enormous role in bringing students, teachers, and coaches together during such an exhausting year. Following various safety regulations, students finally have a sense of normalcy. Relaunching football and cheerleading has brought back the long overdue sensation of school spirit.