Winter sports resume, with restrictions

Senior+basketball+captain+Mike+Trusty+goes+for+a+lay-up+at+tryouts+on+Monday+night.+

Parker Bradlee

Senior basketball captain Mike Trusty goes for a lay-up at tryouts on Monday night.

Hardy Eville

After the intramural fall sports season was cut short due to rising coronavirus cases, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) sports are back for a shorter winter season, with games starting on January 11. With a new sports season comes new regulations, but also the first chance since last winter for athletes to compete against other schools. 

“The MIAA, at the beginning of each season, will produce a series of modifications for each sport,” said athletic director Mark McCarthy. “There are specific ones for basketball, specific ones for ice hockey, specific ones for swimming, those being the three sports that we’re going to sponsor.” 

Winter sports usually include indoor track, but an MIAA ruling moved it to the Fall 2 season, starting in February, where it will join football, unified basketball, and cheerleading. 

The general regulations that apply to all participating sports include social distancing, no locker room use, hand sanitizing, and mask wearing at all times.

Boys varsity basketball captain and senior Mike Trusty is excited for the upcoming season but has concerns about the impact of masks. 

“Wearing a mask is definitely going to affect how well we play and our endurance during the game,” he said. “It’s going to cause everyone to get a lot more fatigued.” 

Head basketball coach Mike Joyce agrees that getting used to masks may be difficult. “I like to play fast, I like to press, I like to run,” he said. “I may have to look at not doing some of that because I don’t want kids passing out.”

Half time has been shortened from fifteen minutes to two and a half minutes and breaks between quarters have been lengthened from one minute to two and a half minutes.

Masks are also a challenge for hockey players, but students are looking into purchasing specially designed helmets that may make playing easier.

“We have to wear masks, obviously,” said coach John Fiorito. “But there are some big hockey providers that sell masks built into the helmet. It’s part of their chin wrap and attached to their cage.”

An auxiliary penalty box has also been added to assist with social distancing. 

Swimmers won’t be wearing masks while they compete, since the nature of their sport makes it impossible, but they will have to deal with different challenges. The team will compete virtually, meaning that each team will swim their races in separate pools and compare times online. 

Senior captain Gabby Carr thinks this could impact her swim times. 

“I know I do better when I’m trying to keep up with someone or trying to stay ahead of them,” she said. “You’re not going to have that to push against.”

Once out of the pool, swimmers must be masked and socially distant from each other. The YMCA has installed a new air filtration system as well.

“I would count swimming as one of the safer sports despite it being inside,” Gabby said.

She thinks the current environment may benefit new students on the team.

“I think this is going to be a year that’s less stressful, more low key,” Gabby said. “It’s a very good year for newer swimmers who want to do some sort of sport.”

Students will also be playing in front of smaller, sometimes nonexistent crowds.

Basketball and hockey have a set amount of fans allowed at games and will be limited to parents. Swimming will not have any spectators due to YMCA limitations. 

Even with all the challenges, coaches and athletes are confident the season will be successful and be an opportunity for authentic competition.

“We have been hopeful [about having a season] but we weren’t going to believe it until we actually saw it happen,” Mr. Fiorito said. “Indoor sports are a different animal from outdoor sports, and we knew there would be a lot of challenging logistics. We are just happy to give the kids an opportunity to practice and also have some sort of league schedule.”