By Waverly Brannigan
Along with every other fall sport, boys soccer was prepared and working towards a regular, interscholastic season. With the beginning of “pre-season” in mid-September, practices were intense and there had even been an influx of football players, as football had already been deemed a high risk sport. There was excitement for the opportunity for the team to play with a broadened roster, until fall interscholastic sports were cancelled on Nantucket, due to high volumes of Covid-19 cases. Unfortunately, this caused the team number to drop, as the football players decided to play flag football, considering there would be no interscholastic play in any sport. Head Coach Rich Brannigan recognizes that lack of attendance is an issue, mainly due to the Covid-19 protocols.
However, both the players and coaches had been longing for their usual fall soccer season, and the team has been able to pull through the challenge together. They practice together five days a week and play intramural games on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a varsity and sub-varsity level. Junior Max Beebe describes the atmosphere explaining intramural “is nowhere near as intense as playing a regular season, because we’re playing against our friends and teammates rather than opposing teams from other schools.” He goes on to say the intramural play is a good time and opportunity to improve skills.
Sophomore Treyce Brannigan agrees that playing together is beneficial, stating, “I like being able to play with, and against, my teammates and challenge each other in a real competitive way that makes us all better at the end of the day.”
On the other hand, only being able to compete against teammates can be “hit or miss,” according to Coach Brannigan. “There have been varying levels of intensity, but the games have still been competitive.” With three games played so far, the majority of the players are simply grateful for the chance to be playing.
Both Beebe and Brannigan expressed that they are glad to have the chance to play team sports, and still have the opportunity to train and become better during these challenging times. Beebe also adds, “Under the current circumstances of Covid-19, I feel like it couldn’t get much better than this.” Overall, the players are making the best of what they have been presented with, trying to focus on improving their own play, as well as building up teammates for future seasons.
Mainly, Coach Brannigan wants to have fun and progress through the season by keeping up with skills. It is important for players to have the chance to continue improving in their sport, so practice environments have been aimed at keeping up fitness, increasing in skills, and maintaining a fun and positive attitude. Up-and-coming players are able to put more focus on the team aspect of soccer, and Treyce Brannigan’s goals for this season include becoming a better leader, along with improving his game. Senior Adan Partida wants to maintain fitness this season, while Max Beebe also wants to improve his play and prepare for next season. The most important aspect of an intramural season is to bond and improve together as a team. For the players who still have a few years in their high school careers, they have put a focus on the future, especially next season.
Although nothing can be sure, the boys are hoping that next year they will be able to have a regular, interscholastic season, and they are working towards that goal. Since this year is especially challenging for everyone, Max Beebe reminds us of the efforts of the athletic department and coaching staff. “I really appreciate the chance to play and everything that the athletic department and coaches have done to give us a season.”
This season is clearly very different than anything the boys team has seen before, but they have been able to maintain a positive attitude regardless. They are focusing on their team play as a whole, as well as keeping practices and games fun and skill based towards improvement. All in all, the boys soccer team has been able to rise to the challenges presented to them this season, simply glad for the chance to play soccer, no matter the circumstances.