Over Thanksgiving break, I was able to have a zoom meeting with the Athletics Director Coach McCarthy to talk about the plan for this year’s winter athletics. At first, I was just curious about the options students might have for the winter trimester, but then I began wondering about how Covid-19 has impacted athletics specifically.
This year looks nothing like last year, and I expected the same would go for athletics. Even this month isn’t the same as the last. Recently, Covid-19 cases in Oklahoma have increased, and the weather has turned cooler (which is how seasons work), meaning people will be moving indoors for activities in a time when caution is needed more than ever. In closed off spaces like gyms and weight rooms, coronavirus particles spread more easily; however, Casady is searching for many ways to counteract some of the negative effects of moving indoors.
Here’s a look at the interview:
“What are the options for students choosing their winter athletics and how does it look different than last year’s winter season?”
Coach McCarthy: “The biggest difference is what we are doing with our fitness program. Last year we had to squeeze our fitness program into Bennett and didn’t social distance, which we didn’t have to do at that time. This year, we are taking our fitness program to the YMCA. They are actually isolating some places for us so the kids will be able to social distance in certain parts of their weight room. We can reserve half of the gym or the racquetball courts. We do have a flex option. We try not to use that if possible because we really want to keep the kids here. Coach Johnson runs the flex option. They meet four times a week as well, and they have to return some type of information three out of the four days, or it’s considered an unexcused absence. It’s like the fitness program where they get seven unexcused absences before they lose credit for the trimester.”
“Have any Covid-19 procedures changed since the fall season? Maybe become more enforced?”
Coach McCarthy: “Not really because everything we’ve had in the past, we are still doing the same things. One of the biggest changes we made was to wear masks in practices indoors. We started that in September. We started in August not doing that and by September, we were requiring that and we still require it now. It’s like school. There are those who will try to test us and if we catch them, we do what we can to keep everyone masked inside Bennett.”
“This fall, Covid-19 showed it could be spread relatively quickly at Casady stemming from a single athletic event. Would you say this made you more cautious when it came to Covid procedures or has your attitude remained relatively the same?”
Coach McCarthy: “Well, I think you have to look at the whole picture on that one spread that we had, because what people are not talking about was that it was also homecoming. That was also a get together at two different homes with kids that were there along with a movie that night. I think there were a lot of things that happened that night, but it was pushed off to one single athletic event. What I think has happened for me is we’ve tightened more of our restrictions; we really watch what we are doing. That was a volleyball tournament where the kids were in a gym for over four and a half hours. I think that was part of it as well, but I think there were a lot of things that were involved that didn’t roll back to just one single event.”
“What would the plan be for athletics if Casady suddenly had to go remote?”
Coach McCarthy: “If Casady goes remote, athletics will be canceled until we come back to in-person learning.”
“In what ways do you think Casady’s athletics have been the most impacted by Covid?”
Coach McCarhty: “The biggest impact has been our lack of ability to play within our conference. We’ve kind of been shut out by our SPC schools in the fall. Even though our teams were able to play games, they were not games against the schools we were used to playing. All the Texas schools were actually able to play each other in Texas. They would not play us. That was the biggest impact for our kids. They did get a season in; it was just not the season they were expecting.”
Not the season they were expecting. This phrase certainly encapsulates what a rollercoaster 2020 has been for everyone. The winter season brings new challenges, but also new opportunities for the athletics department to get creative, which it has already shown by utilizing the large spaces of YMCA and arranging structured options for those needing to do remote fitness. Though Covid-19 has stymied sports, the Casady is looking forward to continuing athletics this winter.