IHSA Winter Sports Postponed Due to COVID-19

H-F%27s+gym%2C+usually+packed+with+student+athletes+at+this+time+of+year%2C+sits+empty+on+a+weekday+afternoon.+Winter+sports%2C+including+boys%27+and+girls%27+basketball%2C+are+postponed+until+further+notice.+

Photo by Myajah Wilson

H-F’s gym, usually packed with student athletes at this time of year, sits empty on a weekday afternoon. Winter sports, including boys’ and girls’ basketball, are postponed until further notice.

Journalism 1, Contributing Writers

By Jack Keigher, Myajah Wilson, Valentino Okafor, Roshaun Hughey and Almeda Wallace

Winter sports this year have been postponed until further notice due to the pandemic, impacting athletes and coaches who anticipated a somewhat normal season.

IHSA sports and activities were put to a halt on Nov. 20, and, according to H-F’s 8to18, “The IHSA will continue to monitor the mitigations currently in effect. When there is a timeline for the state to emerge from these restrictions, the IHSA is prepared to start winter sports in a timely manner.”

Schools have been informed that winter sports will not start before January. 

H-F wrestling head coach, Jim Sokoloski is struggling with the decision to postpone winter sports.

“I miss seeing their growth and personal accomplishments and the excitement on their faces when they get their first win, or upset someone,” Sokoloski said. “So much of our daily life in school revolves around athletics and to not have that takes away a huge part of why so many of us chose to become teachers or coaches.”

Junior gymnast, Isabella Romans, as well as other students that  were looking forward to winter sports are also disappointed with IHSA’s decision.

“I’m actually kind of upset because this is my favorite sport that I participate in for school, and I was really looking forward to this year’s season,” Romans said.

Even though a lot of people are disappointed by this decision, it has opened new opportunities and space for them for them to try new things like getting a job.

“Now that it’s canceled it doesn’t really affect anything I had in the winter or spring,” Romans says. “I’m hoping to get a job now since I won’t have a sports schedule to work around.”

With the winter sports cancellation, athletes find it harder to keep in shape and stay engaged. 

Mental health and physical health is a very important component in order to stay focused and stay in shape for your winter sport season, according to Robert Chapel, the gymnastics coach.

“Sports are extremely important in our physical, mental, and emotional health, so if they can be done safely, then I think they should,” Chapel said.” I know some sports are too high of a risk to be continued during the pandemic, but gymnastics is good to go.”

Other students like freshman swimmer Leo Dastici are mad about the cancellation of the season, but understand why they do it in order to keep the student athletes and coaches healthy.

“I mean [the cancellation of winter sports] is kind of annoying but I get why they are doing it and why [the IHSA] has to have these restrictions,” Dastici said.

Although the environment might be different and morale is tough to keep up, athletes and coaches continue to remind each other that they will get through this together, and next year should hopefully be back to normal.

Even though restrictions have left coaches contemplating about their teams, some have reached out to each other to remain connected through the stretch. 

“Luckily, we have the Hudl app to communicate with the athletes and a GroupMe with the parents, so we have been able to keep all parties informed throughout this entire process,” Sokoloski said.

Coaches and students are still hoping that everything will workout and they might still be able to play this year rather than next year.

To keep his team’s spirits high, Chapel’s 2020 mantra is, “something is better than nothing’.”