Charles Innes ’22
Along with the return to in-person classes at Woodberry this week, students also regained something that had been missing the entire fall trimester: athletic lockers. Varsity teams are now assigned to a specific locker room where they can use the lockers while socially distanced. But, lockers aren’t the only change that comes with winter athletics. It may seem redundant to say it, but as with everything in the “era of covid”, winter athletics will look a bit different this year.
Something feels different about this athletic season. Perhaps Woodberry boys first felt it when the wrestling team held tryouts on the football field. Maybe some people detected it when the Bengal Basketball Team became the Bengal Basketball Association to allow more players to showcase and develop their skills on the court this winter than in a typical year, due to the lack of ability to schedule games. But more likely, athletes truly felt the change to the winter athletic season when instead of beginning practice and playing in games, matches, and meets during December, they instead logged onto zoom classrooms to virtually attend a math class or an advisory meeting.
This year’s winter athletics will truly be unique. The winter sports season is only one month long, leaving coaches and players alike a seldom four weeks to experience a sport they’d normally have nearly three months to enjoy. And, to top it all off, nobody is sure how many competitions will be scheduled for their sport. One sure thing, however, is that when allowed to play this winter, Woodberry’s athletes will need to make it count.
The athletic event scheduling policies this winter resemble the policies of the fall, but they may be even stricter. Since, by nature, winter sports are played inside, the possibility of transmitting COVID-19 through athletic events is even greater. Due to this threat, the athletic department may decide to only schedule games with other boarding schools that follow similar corona-virus restrictions as Woodberry itself, whereas in the fall, games were also scheduled against day schools.
Although much of the scheduling remains up in the air, some competitions are already on the calendar, such as Varsity Basketball’s matchup against Virginia Episcopal School this upcoming weekend. Not only will this game provide entertainment and excitement for the student body, but it may also pave the way for other sporting events to take place later in the Winter.
Despite all of those changes to the winter athletic season, this may be the most dramatic change of all. After winter sports conclude, the football team will begin practice once again, because COVID-19 can’t stop the oldest rivalry in the south from continuing. The 120th game will be one for the history books, and it’s now set for Saturday, March 6th, 2021.
This year, The Game will be played following the winter trimester’s exam week, and when the Tigers come out victorious, it will be the perfect ending to the second trimester of a historic year.