How COVID-19 has Changed RHS’s Groups & Conferences and How this Change has Affected Their Success

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has not only affected the scheduling of RHS sports teams but it has also impacted the success of the leagues. On a regular basis, the RHS sports teams would have their set schedules regarding the game dates and competitors that are planned for the upcoming season. This year, the athletes are mentally and physically unprepared for competition against certain towns as Ridgewood had never faced off against these teams previously, causing a disbalance in the normal sports cycle. 

In regards to the level of competition that RHS sports teams are facing, it has decreased due to the striking number of towns shutting down all athletics with the rising number of coronavirus cases. From the JV soccer team Lucas Barralles states that, “there is less competition since during the pandemic we only verse four teams while with the regular season we would verse at least eight teams”. Similarly, in Cross Country races, “there was only one other team that we raced against last meet so it was way easier than racing our normal amount of at least four teams, which is much more competitive”. From this, it is obvious that with the rising number of coronavirus cases, there will be less competition since a multitude of schools are completely shutting down their athletic programs. This offers insight on the positive side of the change that coronavirus has implemented in the RHS sports teams, with the changing competition allowing the teams to gain more success. 

In contrast, the sports teams are at a disadvantage with the inconstant competition in the fact that they are unable to have the statistics and information of their competitors that they would normally be prepared with. Mental preparation and assessment of the competing teams before games is crucial for the success of all sports teams. By evaluating the opposing teams’ past games and figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of the players, allows the group to have a better idea of what they are going up against and make a game plan. Similarly, the team itself has to build connections and develop a strong relationship in order to be able to work together during the games. Jun Lee, a RHS soccer player, states that “before {covid} we were able to figure out the best chemistry in the team in preseason to bring success but because of Covid we didn’t have time so we are still working on that which causes bad results in the games”. This offers perspective on the downside of playing different towns and the impact that COVID-19 has had on the RHS sports teams’ success. 

Not only is the mental preparation downplayed, but exciting games against certain towns have been cancelled. As an example, the RHS soccer team normally plays “Passaic, Clifton, PTSI, and Kearny, but because of COVID-19 {they} only play teams in Bergen County and some nearby towns”. This is a big disappointment since there is often excitement over the games where Ridgewood plays against their yearly rivals. While some teams are using this change to their advantage, it is difficult to get used to facing different teams. All in all, the biggest takeaway is that coronavirus is impacting the RHS sports teams, either positively or negatively, the new competition is changing the teams’ normal seasons and normal mentalities.

Julia Synn

Staff Writer

Graphic: Sunny Rhew

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