The Athlete’s Side of The Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020


[Left to Right] Savannah Huyveart, Alyssa Martin, Ashlyn Johnson and Lydia McCann pose for a picture after Tennis practice at Air Academy High School.

The world lately has seemed a lot like Wolfgang Peterson’s 1995 movie Outbreak, except not from an infected monkey smuggled into California, but from bats in China. “Coronavirus this,” and “COVID-19 that,” as the news headlines all seem to say. The effects are visible everywhere.

Grocery stores are picked-over due to people stocking up, people are losing their jobs because their workplace is closed or isn’t getting business meaning employers can’t afford to keep a full staff and pay rent; the land is doing better now that there are fewer people out and about causing pollution; people’s “honey-do” lists are getting larger; hand sanitizer is a valuable commodity; masks are encouraged when out in public; hospitals are chocked full; most activities have been canceled or postponed; schools have been temporarily shut down and encouragement to stay home has long been in effect.

Since it seems like the pot is boiling over in society at the moment, it’s probably beneficial to get out of the house and avoid cabin fever. For most, work is meant to stay at the workplace, not really trickle into the home. That is the place of sanctuary for many.

Some students would likely try to argue the same; except the never-ending, uphill battle of homework up to our eyeballs prevents our sentiments from being heard. For students, we are stuck with online learning or “E-Learning” as it’s being called. For those who prefer technology-based learning, this is moderately desirable. For those of us who are active or more sociable people, being inside for days at a time is getting to us.

Oddly enough, since people are advised to stay inside, more people have been out walking and in recreational areas than when there wasn’t a state of emergency–or so it may seem.

Some of these people out around [based on looks and activity] are likely displaced from their gym which they used to go to regularly. Currently, Colorado seems to be pushing for people to really stay inside, and stay away from each other; we have to wear masks in addition to social distancing and encouragement to stay home.

Especially those whose season for sports was postponed. Most spring sports hadn’t even gotten a competition in yet, and teams were still gearing up for the season ahead, whipping everyone into shape.

The fun was just beginning, yet the dark clouds rolled in hard and fast, bringing a bitter, whipping wind. COVID-19 pulled the floor right out from underneath each and every athlete. It stole more than half our seasons straight from our hands.

The 2019 AAHS Cross Country team starting a conga line to the music played after the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference Regional meet at Monument Valley Park.

We were all really disappointed about the season coming to an ending so quick. We had only played one tournament and we were looking forward to an amazing season,” said junior tennis veteran Kylie Andrew.

Although CHSAA threatened to strictly quarantine athletes who got the team to hold unofficial practices, many coaches have found ways to encourage athletes to still stay active, and keep their chins up.

“As a swimmer, our sport is the hardest to stay in shape for right now. We don’t have access to the biggest part of swimming: a pool. Coach Scott Newell’s actions have been limited by this, but he has tried to keep our spirits up. When the [Colorado High School Activities Association] canceled sports I was devastated. Now I realize it’s for the best and I’m looking forward to next year,” said sophomore swimmer Dakota Kinder. 

The 2020 AAHS Swim and Dive boys’ unofficial team picture at their last practice before quarantine at the Pikes Peak Athletics Training Center.
[All left to Right]
[Back] Fourth row – Henry Stockton, Reidar Johnston, Dakota Kinder, Seaver Nuey, Collin Corrigan
Third row – Gabe Klarenbach, Daniel Ghoreyshi, Gustavo Lambert, Jude Walker, Hayden Ayotte, Fitz Stanton
Second row – Coach Scott Newell, Craig Poltenovage, Wade Poltenovage, Michael Muser, Josh Sekutera, Tim Cloonan, Nate Wright
First row – Adam Bulow, Cole Groen, Blake Schawe, Alex Maline, Connor Britton, Maddox Riewald, Floyd Kerr
Not Pictured – Chris Bassett, Carter Belmear, Luke Elliott, Devan Hendrix, Ethan Kennedy, Stephen Staffan
“We [are] determined to not let ourselves get rusty and we promised our coaches we would practice every day and look forward to any sign of the season being able to continue. We have been organizing safe team meet-ups without the coaches at tennis courts around the area. The quarantine and the stay at home order have definitely made that a bit challenging but we know it won’t be forever,” said Andrew

All people and athletes have had something seemingly stolen from them. However, most athletes and people have remained positive, at least on the outside.

“It’s very disappointing, but understandable. As much as I’d have liked to compete with my friends for one last season, our overall well-being does take priority,” said senior swimmer Wade Poltenovage. 

Without a doubt, keeping in shape and ready for certain sports in these times is more accessible than that of others. For the athletes on the serious side, who are training to be top performers at state, on the team, or are aiming at the collegiate level and beyond: where there’s a will there’s a way, as it has been said many times by many people.

“I think that most of the top performers are putting in the training. The effort is probably somewhere around 80-90%, but that’s better than nothing at all. My biggest fear is that my teammates and myself are training for a season that could very well not even happen,” said junior middle and long-distance track runner Drew Braden.

Perhaps some of the most important things for an athlete to do in such uncertain times are to listen to the suggestions health officials, teachers, coaches, and parents are making: find a safe way to stay active, eat right and still sleep normally, keep grades up, and keep a positive mindset on what the future may hold.

As athletes, students, and a society, we have a long way to go before all is lost, we will make it through. May we all stay healthy and find strength in ourselves and in one another. Happy extended pre-season training!