The return of sports is what everyone was waiting for, but it’s not exactly what people had planned for. The COVID pandemic has taken many events away from our student body, and sports was one of them. Athletics at Lincoln-Way Central is more than just playing a game. Our student athletes take away more than just improving their skills. They learn dedication, sportsmanship, and form long lasting relationships with each other. Many athletic programs are not playing in their traditional season and this has affected our student athletes tremendously.
Many athletics are finally returning, and basketball is just one of them. Our boys’ and girls’ basketball season has been cut short, but thankfully they finally have the chance to play. Senior on the Varsity Girls’ Basketball team, Haley Stoklosa, chimes in to say, “I was excited to get the chance to play with my teammates one more time with a lot of the girls I grew up with.” These athletes had to make a huge adjustment. Now, with the COVID regulations students must always wear a mask and are only allowed 50 spectators at a game. If you have ever been to one of Lincoln-Way Central’s sporting events, students and family pack the stands. Senior, Nick Tingley on the Varsity Boys’ Basketball team adds, “We have to follow COVID protocols, but we are still able to practice and play like last year. It took some getting used to, but now it’s just good to be back playing.” Many of these athletes have played and grown up with many of their teammates and the best part is being able to connect with them as a team again. Senior, Nick Tingley says, “ Being able to play my senior year with the kids that I have grown up playing with, but not being able to bond with the team like normal because of COVID has been challenging.”
Baseball and football are just another two sports that have hope for playing in the spring and summer. As we know, football has a fall season, but they are beginning their new season this spring. The football games are one of the most-attended sporting events of the student body and what will it be like now this spring? Senior, Nolan Recker on the varsity football team adds, “I am not a fan of the changes, but if it means we can play, I can manage it.” All these athletes want to do is play the sport they love. The football team has had their season pushed back many times, and for much of this year, whether they’d be able to play at all was in question. It has become difficult with all the changes. Nolan Recker expresses, “We have started and stopped many different times, and the masks give me and my team a huge disadvantage. The hardest part is trying to stay motivated during all the cancellations of practices every month. I try to stay flexible will all the changes.” For many of these athletes it is their senior year and one of the last times they can play with their team. Senior Nolan Recker points out, “I am ecstatic to play one final season with my friends that I have played with for so long no matter how few games we will have.”
Baseball season is normally a spring sport but has sadly been pushed until the summer season. Senior, Michael Maloney on the varsity baseball team says, “The season is going to be very different from last year. We were one of the few sports that did not get to play last year, so I am very excited to play.” Right when our world was beginning to shut down, the baseball season got stuck in the middle of it. The baseball season did not have the chance to play their regular season, and many got cut short of their experience as a student athlete here at Lincoln- Way Central. These boys have been anticipating to play since last year and nothing can stop them now! There are, however, going to be some changes to the season that are going to get some getting used to. Senior, Michael Maloney states, “I think the changes are going to take some getting used to especially with having to wear a mask while we play. I am most excited to play my senior year with most of the guys I have grown up with one last time.”
Athletics at Lincoln-Way Central is something that everyone in the school yearns for. Wearing masks, social distancing and few spectators will affect our student athletes, but the anticipation is killing them! Good luck to our senior Knights on their last season of playing in the high-school level!