Winter sports athletes impacted by new restrictions

Taylor Spencer, Sports Editor

St. Louis Suburban Conference has issued new guidelines banning spectators and requiring athletes to wear masks while playing as of Nov. 18.

This announcement means athletes will not be allowed to have any guests for home games and games inside the conference. The exception to this would be away games outside of the conference. Activities Director Mitch Lefkowitz said when these games occur, the Falcons will be following the guidelines the school enforces, which may provide the opportunity for spectators to be in attendance.

“If we play games outside of St. Louis County, we will adhere to the guidelines and regulations that those schools follow. So if they allow spectators, then our parents will be able to attend. If they limit spectators to two per athlete, then that is the guidelines we will follow,” Lefkowitz said.

Additionally, social distancing will be enforced at these events, and the athletes are expected to wear their masks at all times, whether that be warming up, standing on the sidelines, or playing. Senior Ruth Vogel said wearing a mask during her basketball games is not ideal, and it is something she needs to get used to.

“When running up and down the court, it is hard to breathe and handle the ball. Also, I keep having to pull up my mask while I am playing. It impacts my peripheral vision, but that is just something I have to get used to. The breathing aspect is the worst part,” Vogel said.

Vogel said not being able to have her parents support her at games during her final season is upsetting.

“It really stinks. As a senior, it’s nice to have a supportive crowd. Even two spectators per person were okay because they were my parents, and able to support me,” Vogel said. “Without my parents attending, it is hard to take the game seriously and try because there is no one to prove that I am worth watching.”

Lefkowitz said teams are planning to livestream games to spectators and advises parents to stay calm, as certain district procedures and schedules will change as the schools adapt to these new rules.

“It seems as if all the districts are doing something a little bit different. I have told all our coaches and parents to be flexible and patient, as our schedules will change and the spectator guidelines will be different whether we play home or away,” Lefkowitz said. “My varsity coaches are working on plans to live stream games either via Facebook Live or Zoom so that parents can still see the action.”