Spring sports fans turn hopeful as COVID-19 restrictions loosen

Luke Kurcina, Staff Reporter

Madison sports fans and athletes are hopeful at the prospect of larger crowds being allowed to attend sporting events through the spring season. 

PHOTO COURTESY OF LUKE KURCINA

The fall season (actually taking place in February and March) had very high restrictions on who was allowed to attend. Limited games and state COVID-19 guidelines made it difficult for families, friends and community members to support the teams they love at our school. Outdoor games, like football and field hockey had a maximum capacity of 250 spectators, with the majority of tickets going to family members of the home and visiting teams. This left only a small portion to be raffled off to interested upperclassmen. Indoor sports, like volleyball and cheer competitions, were only allowed 25 spectators, and all of those spots were filled by the parents and family of the home team athletes.

This inability for representation of the student body at sporting events has caused difficulties in forming the connections and sense of community present in past years. Madison is usually able to demonstrate a strong school spirit, with large numbers of students attending all sorts of games. Home football games used to draw hundreds of students from all grades, filling or even overflowing the student section. This allowed the student body to show support for friends and classmates, cheer on the athletes and connect with other students in the stands. Unfortunately, on top of the distance and disconnect in a virtual learning environment, Madison students have been unable to form the bonds outside of the classroom that once came from large attendance at sports games, which added a fun, spirited atmosphere that took the Madison community beyond the purely academic. 

PHOTO COURTESY OF LUKE KURCINA

However, this spring season is looking much more hopeful. With improving weather and the continued rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the country, restrictions on community gatherings are expected to lighten, allowing for more community participation in the Madison stands. Though still dependent on the directives from Governor Northam, spring sports should be open to more spectators than the fall season allowed. This would bring more students to the games, and hopefully help to provide a fun end of the year, particularly for the senior class who will be spending the end of their high school career under COVID-19 restrictions, limiting other Madison traditions and events.

The Vienna community has also been contributing to the effort for the spring season. As Madison is unusually limited in having one field for all soccer and lacrosse teams, field space off campus in and around Vienna is being offered, particularly for practices as the Madison field will be prioritizing games. 

Other clubs and activities have been finding space in the school to meet, or have been meeting virtually, allowing honors societies, clubs, forensics and debate, scholastic bowl and other activities to continue, hopefully in greater capacities as restrictions loosen. 

Though these changes throughout the spring remain dependent on the orders from the state, a general trend toward loosened restrictions could help end the year on a high for Madison students by building community and allowing for more fun events outside of the school day. And hopefully this could mean a much more normal start to the 2021-2022 school year in the fall.