Winter sports get the green light to begin season

Jonathan Cunningham, Sports Editor


After outrage and many protests and Facebook posts calling for leading health officials to “let them play,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, along with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, announced that winter contact sports such as Ice Hockey, Wrestling, and Basketball may start with strict restrictions set in place to prevent the spread of COVID 19. It is unsure if these protests caused Whitmer and the state to change their minds.
Wrestlers must have COVID tests before competition days to ensure that while they are competing without a mask, they are safe from COVID. Hockey and basketball must wear masks while competing.
As athletes began practices, they acknowledged the difficulty in running and skating while wearing a mask.
“It’s hard to wear them, they’re super annoying, and after a little while it gets difficult to breathe and super hot and sweaty, especially when we’re on the bench after just getting off and catching our breath,” Utica-Ford Unified hockey captain, senior Ethan Gherke said. “It’s just super difficult to play with masks.”
Although it is tough to deal with, he says that the team is just happy to be playing again.
“It’s awesome,” Gherke said. “A lot of the boys didn’t see us playing at all especially with how strict our governor and her administration has been with all this, we’re just thankful for her opening us back up to be able to play.”
The announcement was very relieving for the seniors, most of which will not play at a level above high school. The athletes feel lucky that it seems as if no senior will miss their senior seasons. If someone on a team gets COVID, however, it would put that team out for at least 10 days, no matter what sport it is.
So far this season most sports have been a success, and most of the sports have run very smoothly with no hiccups. Unfortunately, the Utica-Ford Unified hockey team had to quarantine for a week after there was least one positive test on the team. They are eligible to return to the ice next Wednesday, March 3.
Wrestling has gone well even with the testing regiments needed for the athletes to be able to compete in matches and tournaments without a mask on. No positive tests have been reported from wrestling thus far, and everyone is hoping it remains that way so they can fnish out their season during this difficult pandemic.
Everyone around the sports world is hopeful that we can stay on the field, ice, court, or whatever surface they play on. Especially this year, while everything else is so difficult for many.
Spectators are limited to two per athlete, and all must wear masks. Winter athletes are wearing their masks and keeping their circles small so they are able to complete the seasons they have been longing to play.