Holding out on Huddles


With more than 42 million cases of Covid-19 worldwide (as of October 23, 2020), precautionary measures need to be taken to ensure the safety and health of people worldwide. As a large community of students and faculty, the school must also implement safety measures to protect the community. Hand sanitizer stations, spread out desks in classrooms, disinfecting tables between classes, and wearing masks at all times are just some of the many precautions taken during the school day. However, our learning environment is not the only thing affected by new safety measures. Major changes have also been made to the Athletic program regarding rules and regulations for players on and off the pitch, field, and court.

Rules like no huddles, high-fives, hugs or handshakes, designated changing rooms for each team, wearing masks at all times when not playing, and designated study halls for late practices are just a few of the new safety measures for this year’s fall sports season. While many athletes are settling into these new rules, there are still many questions regarding these precautions and why they are in place. Are they really necessary? Why these specific rules anyway?

Many of the safety measures in place are similar to those of other German sports clubs. These rules act as the foundation, and the school then adds other precautions they feel are important to have in a school environment. For example, club sports may allow spectators to watch games. The school, however, is being extra cautious and is not currently allowing parents on campus. The goals of these precautions is to minimize exposure as much as possible to lessen the potential spread. Many of the safety measures in place come from not only the crisis team here at school, but also the Gesundheitsamt, or even the German government.

One of the main challenges the sports teams face is the struggle with high-fives and huddles before, during, and after games because of how ingrained these actions are in sports. The challenge is finding new ways to celebrate while socially distanced. Minimizing contact time between people is the main priority, as this helps limit the potential spread of the virus.

“We want our students to be able to continue to practice and have matches,” says the FIS Athlectic Director. The main goal of the athletic department is to ensure that the fall sports season is not lost. The best chance of completing the fall sports season is to stick to the safety measures in place and minimize contact between players.

The new safety measures do not seem to be majorly impacting the intensity and style of gameplay. While some people have chosen not to participate in this year’s season, many have returned to participate in the athletics program as in a standard season. This year’s fall season has seen a record number of kids trying out and being involved despite the new restrictions.

Student Athletes seem to have a variety of opinions on these new restrictions. Some students are somewhat unbothered by the restrictions, with one student saying, “The changing rooms are nice as they have created a nice sense of organization”. Some students also say that the masks do not bother them that much and are “tolerable”. Other students, however, have found the new restrictions to be frustrating. “Having to get permission from the crisis team to scrimmage other FIS teams is a bit annoying, especially since some of us interact with the people on the other teams almost everyday.”

The new spike in Covid cases around Europe in recent weeks, combined with a constant stream of new red zones, led the FIS crisis team to cancel all sporting competitions and travel plans for the next two weeks as a safety precaution. All SCIS and ISST Tournaments have been cancelled as well. This has saddened and frustrated many athletes. One student stated, “we haven’t had that many games this year as it is, to have these games taken away from us as well is really disheartening.” While student athletes are very passionate about their sport, half the fun of participating in the fall season is competing against other teams. The fall sports season simply isn’t the same without the usual competitive nature.

These new safety measures may be frustrating to some, but the restrictions are a necessary precaution to ensure that student athletes get to keep their sports seasons. Wearing masks and social distancing is a small price to pay to continue playing on sports teams while in a pandemic. With the constant rise in cases and the danger of another lockdown on the horizon, the future of FIS athletics remains uncertain.