By Camie Strojny, Sports Editor
Insight on Intramural Play During a Pandemic
The Class of 2021’s fall senior athletes are all strong players, with most of them starting their sport in middle school or beforehand. An athlete’s senior season of one of their sports is a whirlwind of emotions, from sadness, to accomplishment, and everything in between. From saying ‘goodbyes’ to coaches that raised you and to the younger teammates who view you as a mentor. With Nantucket sports, teams arguably grow closer together than ever before through all the travel with boat rides, long bus rides, cancellations, mall trips, and more. Unfortunately, this year for the 2020 fall sports season, Nantucket played an intramural season for safety protocols due to the pandemic; it was the best option for the circumstances our community was in.
Personally, field hockey is my favorite sport out of my three sports. I started in seventh grade and played JV as an eighth-grader, going on as a four-year varsity player. With all the delays with school this year, sports were pushed as well. I, along with other senior fall athletes, was very apprehensive about the fact we may not receive a senior season at all. The Athletic Department put in all their efforts, and in the end, we were given the opportunity to play intramural rather than interscholastic— I was just grateful to play my sport with my team for the last time.
Obviously, there were many things left out during an intramural season: no formal referees or captains, no Whaler of the Week in the newspaper, no crowds at games besides immediate family, a lack of a competitive atmosphere, and no travel. Disregarding things we missed out on, I feel as though this season has been a more fun and diverse experience: more flexibility in what each team works on during practice, room for slip-ups, and it was ultimately a perfect opportunity for younger players to adapt to higher play, as they got to play with upperclassmen. This year, I personally think this season made each team very close because we all collectively missed out on a lot, yet the teams and coaches had to make the season interesting and entertaining to make up for the things being left out. Besides the fact it was my last season ever playing field hockey, it was undoubtedly the hardest season by far to say goodbye to.
Playing competitively for years on end can be draining at times. Running sprints, preparing to play big schools with the same drills, late boat rides with no service to do homework, the athletes collectively become ready to start something new, days become broken records. However, this season I feel like I fell back in love with my sport. Without the interscholastic play, I became more excited to come to practice and work with the girls, as we were not drained 24/7 and were able to do things we normally would not do in a normal season. For instance, the girls’ soccer team had an entire spirit week, where they dressed for practice each day of the week, and the field hockey team had a Halloween practice where each grade dressed as a costume and did relay races all of the practice.
None of this could have been done without the Athletic Department’s strong efforts and support to give the students a chance to play fall sports. In the long run, I personally can say I felt a lot more comfortable playing an intramural sport than traveling off-island and risking contracting the virus from other teams or through travel, and potentially threatening our small island community with another spike in cases. This season has not been the same as in previous years, but nothing this year has been traditional. The Class of 2021 is so strong and resilient for sacrificing their senior season by playing intramural, we all could have easily decided to not “waste our time” as we would not be working towards anything, like playing bigger schools with an interscholastic play. Our class still maintained to finish off our last fall sports season, despite not breathing all too well from the masks! It has truly been an honor to play field hockey, a huge thank you to Mr. Maury, Mr. Lombardi, Matt Haunt, Elizabeth Baraldi, Dan Webber, Nicole Bamber, my teammates, and everyone in-between for making this season unforgettable.