By ALEX SPONSELLER During last week's weekly COVID-19 briefing, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo lifted the three-week pause which opened the doors for organized sports to resume. Shortly after the announcement, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League
By ALEX SPONSELLER During last week’s weekly COVID-19 briefing, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo lifted the three-week pause which opened the doors for organized sports to resume.
Shortly after the announcement, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League announced that the high school season would begin after the holidays, with practices beginning on Jan. 4.
Basketball, hockey, gymnastics, indoor track and swimming will all be permitted to compete since they do not fall into the state’s high risk category. However, wrestling and competitive cheer will be moved to the fourth season which will take place in May and June.
“I had doubts from week to week. I am very happy to be moving along with our schedule, but my main concern is that our players, coaches and parents understand the difference between fall sports and winter sports. Fall sports went extremely well from a health perspective for athletes, but those sports were played outside. We’re moving indoors and that’s a completely different animal. I hope people understand the things that we are doing for safety,” said Cranston athletic director Mike Traficante regarding some of the safety measures that will be enforced in the winter season.
A limited number of spectators will be allowed at each competition, with there being a chance of only essential personnel permitted at basketball games. Swim meets will also be virtual competitions, with teams tracking scores in real time and competing exclusively in their home pools.
There will be a handful of other safety procedures in terms of equipment sanitization, mask wearing, and regular temperature checks for players. There will be frequent breaks during games, similar to what the league enforced in the fall.
“I believe the fewer people in the gym, the better chance we have to complete the season. Fortunately, in Cranston, we can stream our games live for free so we will use our cameras. If we do not allow parents throughout the year, I hope to see there be one game for senior night when parents can attend. We are also going to use multiple busses to split up our JV and varsity teams when they travel on the road, there are many precautions that we are going to take,” said Traficante.
Another issue that the league will be faced with is the third season, which could potentially begin immediately after the conclusion of the winter season. Between potential scheduling conflicts and safety concerns, Traficante believes that the league and its member schools still have a tough road ahead.
“What if a kid plates football, basketball and baseball? You are going full boar pretty much every day from January through June, then the following football season starts in August. I know that they are 16, 17 years old and they’re resilient, but that’s tough on the body, that’s a lot. Same with girls sports, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse. Other kids play travel. It’s a wear and tear on the body that I hope these kids are aware of,” said Traficante.
More than anything, Traficante hopes to see all involved abide by the safety precautions, and looks forward to getting back out there as safely as possible.
“It’s risk-reward, everything we do from here on out,” said Traficante. “We are going to do everything that we have to do, and that includes educating our kids. I know that they’re young and feel invincible, but it may only take one kid to ruin a season. I am cautiously optimistic, but we need to follow these guidelines or we aren’t going to make it.”