By Edd Merritt

 

Edd Merritt

Winter high school sports have new schedules, rules and fewer fans

Julie Moore, Secretary of the state’s Agency of Natural Resources, and Bob Johnson, Associate Executive Director of the Vermont Principals’ Association, said that things will happen differently this winter with high school sports. A couple – indoor track and wrestling – won’t happen at all. Basketball and hockey schedules will be limited to two games per week, and masks will be worn whenever possible. Interestingly, gymnasts will not have to wear a mask when they are competing upside down because, according to the Free Press, “a facial covering could affect their field of vision.”

Fans in the stands of indoor events will be a scarcity, as well, as games will be played to very limited audiences.

Teams may begin practicing at the end of this month, but will not face each other in games until mid-January.

All in all, the changes appear to be made for the primary good of the athletes themselves, allowing them to gain the benefits of sporting competition without endangering themselves or others involved as spectators, coaches or trainers. Vermont schools will provide the educational credential given to sports while minimizing the threat of disease.

Youth hockey finds itself stuck in Vermont
Contrary to the practice when my sons played youth hockey and traveled throughout New York and New England, the governors of this area’s states and New Jersey suspended interstate games through December 31 at least. The rule applies to public and private schools as well as youth teams and began November 14. The limitations will be re-evaluated as more data on public health becomes available.

This practice appears to test our desire that sports, like a number of other matters, be governed locally. However, thinking back to my own history, when I played youth hockey I could not wait to ride the bus from Minnesota to Colorado, pretending my next broad tour could be the NHL – talk about traveling beyond reality.