YORK — Barb Marois stands off to the facet, watching her York Excessive area hockey gamers full a stickhandling drill.
“Good day,” she says. “Right here we go, again at it.”
As a participant completes the drill, she says, “That felt bizarre. I forgot methods to search for (whereas dribbling the ball).”
Marois, returning to coach the Wildcats after a two-year hiatus, tells her, “Don’t fear, it would come again.”
That was Monday, mere minutes into the primary observe of the autumn for the college’s fall sports activities groups. Like all excessive faculties in York County, the Wildcats had been unable to hold any practices or games since the start of the school year as a result of the county had obtained a “yellow” designation within the state’s color-coded college advisory system in the course of the pandemic. Final Friday, York County turned green, permitting sports activities to start to start Monday.
At York Excessive, that meant a return to observe solely. For now, the Wildcats will not be planning on enjoying any video games on this abbreviated fall season, which ends for all faculties in Maine on Nov. 14. Even their practices are unconventional.
York is following the hybrid mannequin of its teachers, splitting its athletes into cohorts. College students who attend college on Mondays and Tuesdays will observe collectively, as will college students who attend college on Thursdays and Fridays (Wednesday is a digital day for all college students). Every cohort group will obtain digital exercises on the times after they’re not in class.
“That is how we’re going to get began and hopefully transfer ahead,” stated York Athletic Director Jeff Oliver, who added that video games is perhaps added over the past week or two of the season. “(The colour-coded system) is so unpredictable. If we maintain getting excellent news, we’ll take what we will get. I do know the children are simply thrilled to be on the market.”
Whereas coaches want they may have a full-team exercise, the athletes are, certainly, merely glad to be collectively once more. For a lot of of them, their final highschool competitors or observe was in February.
“The no-games factor is gloomy and too unhealthy, and it might be superior to have a possibility for playoffs,” stated senior area hockey defender Gemma Hopkins. “However everybody goes by means of the identical factor and I’m simply completely happy to be out right here with my group and profiting from it.”
If any group had a purpose to be miffed a few lack of video games, it might be York’s area hockey group. The Wildcats have received the final seven Class B South championships and 14 of the final 16.
Christina Dargie, a senior midfielder, stated that doesn’t matter.
“Subject hockey is a sport I’ve been enjoying for the reason that third grade, so I couldn’t think about giving it up any method,” she stated. “Simply being with the group, the group motivates me. I get to see them, I get to observe with them, we encourage one another. I simply have a lot enjoyable with it.”
Marois, a former U.S. Olympic area hockey participant, stated she’ll coach otherwise this 12 months.
“There’s often plenty of preparation and situational issues that we work on, and different issues we will’t do due to the protection protocols,” she stated. “I simply need them to have enjoyable on the market and play the sport.”
First-year ladies’ soccer coach Nick Hanlon put his group by means of a sequence of drills that not solely labored on bettering their abilities, however constructing relationships.
He stated he might inform his gamers have been having enjoyable throughout their observe.
“(You may see the) smiles behind these masks,” he stated. “You may hear it of their voices, you may hear it of their chatter. That hasn’t been there. I’m a trainer within the constructing and that (enjoyable) hasn’t been within the constructing but. However it was out right here at the moment, which is superior. It is a step ahead in the suitable course.”
His purpose? “To study names with the face masks on, with the face masks off,” stated Hanlon. “Which will appear to be a foolish little purpose for October, but it surely’s solely been Zoom conferences since July.”
And the gamers are glad to be rid of these, for probably the most half.
“We have been positively excited as a result of it was good to see one another once more,” stated midfielder Eliza Linn, certainly one of seven seniors on the ladies’ soccer group. “We’re all good mates … And whereas it stinks that we’re break up up, we’re completely happy we will no less than do that.”
Junior goalkeeper Allie MacDonald stated simply seeing teammates was motivation sufficient to be out on the sphere.
“I simply suppose everyone seems to be in the identical boat,” she stated. “You may both make the perfect of it or don’t present up. What motivates me is to return right here and see everybody and see what we will do.”