Wrestling? During A Pandemic?

Wrestling? During A Pandemic?

To many high school students, school sports are the highlight of their day. There are countless benefits of playing a sport as a teenager, and they are a major part of the high school experience. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many have not received the benefits of a normal playing experience. Whether it be a postponed season, or having to follow Covid-19 guidelines, it has been very difficult for athletes to adapt. Luckily, school sports have been returning, to an extent, as both low-risk and high-risk sports have been approved in some capacity. 

One of the sports that has returned to the surprise of many is wrestling. Despite being categorized as “high-risk,” the LHS wrestling teams have been allowed to practice and compete as of late. Although this move may have received opposition, this is a step in the right direction. 

Of course, the athletes are taking necessary precautions. To limit the spread of the virus, masks are worn during practices and matches. Also, the amount of people allowed at matches is limited. In general, coaches and athletes have made it a priority to be careful and mindful. Sophomore Liam Fitzgerald, a member of the varsity team, agrees that the sport is being conducted safely. “Everyone is taking precautions, so it’s safe to have the matches and practices,” he said. Since everyone is following the guidelines created by experts, there is no reason the sport should not be played. 

While it is understandable that people have reservations about this contact-based sport occurring with the pandemic overhead, it is essential to acknowledge how important wrestling is to the athletes. They have dedicated many years to their sport, and it serves as a source of exercise, community, and self-improvement for them. Plenty of other sports are being played, so wrestling should be no different. It would be unfair if wrestlers had to watch other high-risk sports like basketball, soccer, and tennis continue while theirs was cancelled. Now more than ever, a positive outlet such as wrestling is important for coping with all the uncertainties and struggles of 2021. During a time when school, extracurriculars, and family life are being impacted, being able to wrestle is beneficial to the wrestlers, both mentally and physically.             

LHS wrestling is continuing onwards despite the challenges. Sophomore and varsity wrestler Jesse Jean said, “It was difficult to adapt during these hard times, but, overall, I believe we learned to overcome the obstacles and work together as a team to strive.” Junior Tyler Ippolitto said, “After a rough year of no sports, it was great for sports to be back to an extent. We had to follow more precautions for the fact wrestling is a very physical sport and has close contact; we made sure to always wear masks and to be extra safe, as it was a privilege to be back on the mat.”

As long as the guidelines are followed, wrestling should be allowed to continue, in spite of concerns. LHS wrestlers have done a phenomenal job of making the best of their situation and continuing to play the sport they love so much.