Fall Sports at Holyoke High School have been canceled due to COVID-19


Annalyse McBride, Sports Editor

After a late start to the 2020 fall sports season that had few teams not being able to do more than practice, and game play being changed entirely, Holyoke High School announced the cancellation of all fall athletics at the school. After the city was deemed “red” on the COVID-19 risk assessment map they looked into the  Holyoke Board of Health and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association guidelines and the decision was made to end the season. Even though no Holyoke High School athletes have tested positive for COVID-19, the decision makers deemed it best to be proactive to keep the athletes and people in the community safe.

For many athletes this news was the worst news they could’ve gotten. When the season ended it had just started for most. After a short season of accommodating to the COVID-19 guidelines, athletes expressed their feelings toward the news of the closure. A lot are unhappy but most understand why it needed to happen. After asking athletes at the school what three words they would use to describe their feelings about the cancelation, the three most used words were sad, disappointing and upsetting. They said they would be thankful and happy if they got the chance to play again in another season but there were also some concerns. Between concerns about COVID-19 and students who play different sports in different seasons running the risk of having to choose between which sport they’ll play there were mixed emotions. Another question given to the athletes was on whether or not they thought cancelling the season was the first thing that should’ve been done. Keira Morris, a freshman at the school said  “I think it depends. I think that it was the right choice to keep everyone safe but I also think that more options could have been looked into”. She is one of many who have the same opinion. Many students sent emails with ideas on how to finish the season safely. Those ideas include: Temperature checks before games and practices, COVID-19 testing and having no fans be in attendance. Senior Jaden Rodriguez says “It’s truly sad and the fact that some higher officials in the school choose to still rub salt in an open wound and say things like ‘do this and that, this is why we are cancelled because we can’t do this and that’ it almost makes us feel disrespected.” This is a mutual feeling between athletes who have reached out. Some said they felt like they were only being responded to because they had to be responded to.

For many athletes sports are a huge part of their life. For some it’s an escape from reality, a way to stay healthy and in shape, a place where they can be themselves and a place where they can form bonds and create a family. As much as everyone knows it may be for the better the season ending is still devastating to athletes. Kaiya Thomas-Rivera used her voice to express her feelings on the season end by saying “It hurts to see something you’ve been doing since you were four be taken away from you so fast.” One of the biggest issues students had was small the gap between the day they were notified and the day of their last practice. Many students only found out a day before and that is not close to enough time to process the fact that a major part of your life has just been taken away. 

On behalf of the athletes at Holyoke High please wear your masks, wash your hands, follow social distancing guidelines and do your part to keep yourself and other ones safe so our uniforms can be worn again. If you aren’t an athlete I encourage you to do the same. Our city is still in the “red” and COVID-19 is still very much real. A global pandemic is more important than your party that puts you and others around you in danger.