Londonderry uncertain regarding the return of sports this fall

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Photo by Dave Daron

The Lancer football team and all other fall teams are being affected by the Coronavirus.

To play or not to play? That is the question on every fall athlete’s mind. A return to sports would bring a sense of normalcy to lives that have been turned upside down by the Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus has caused spring athletes around LHS to lose their season. Now, with the fear of a second wave of sickness spreading, our state will have to make the decision of either playing or canceling the upcoming fall season.

Londonderry has fall teams for football, boys and girls soccer, field hockey, boys and girls cross country, cheerleading, golf, girls volleyball, and unified soccer. Each sport brings a different difficulty of return, and parameters will be put in place for each sport’s respective return.

“My guess is there will be restrictions of some sort, but at this time it is hard to say. They will be in line with the district return to school plans and the Governor’s executive order,” Londonderry’s Athletic Director, Howard Sobolov, said.

As of right now, the NHIAA (New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association) has made no changes to the upcoming season; everything is supposed to go on as regularly scheduled. This may change as the NHIAA board comes to a decision on the fall season. All activities until then are left up to the Londonderry School District to decide whether they will occur or not, and they must comply with Governor Sununu’s plan for reopening the state. The restrictions, established by the governor, as of right now are: no more than 50 people at a workout, no physical contact, and social distancing of six feet must still be used. There are different rules for each sport, but those three must be followed until games start.

“[Restrictions] will be determined by what is happening with the number of cases of the virus; are they continuing to decrease or are they spiking?” Sobolov said.

Because it is unclear how safe it is to get back to playing, nothing can be set in stone. With that being said, there are certain dates to keep on eye on, as they will be major checkpoints for the return of sports in Londonderry. These include June 15: the start of power camp. July 20: The hopeful beginning of outdoor sports. August 1: The hopeful starting date of indoor sports.

Power Camp,  which is provided by our strength and fitness program, began on June 15, and signaled the official return of lifting. Groups are limited to no more than 10 participants, although this is always open to change as we progress forward. 

According to Sobolov,  the school district is allowing only outside activity at this time, with Lancer Power which began on June 15, as well as summer baseball, softball, and running.

Many fall sports have already been affected, such as the football team. Usually, at this point in the year, throwing sessions and lineman workouts would be in full swing, but the team has been limited to just zoom calls and home lifting workouts.

This has been the case for the field hockey team as well; practices had previously been scheduled to begin on June 15th. At this point, there is a tentative start date of July 20. The team has instead been doing weekly zooms.

Another sport losing summer practices is the cheerleading team. Usually at this point they would be working with those who are trying out for the team for the upcoming season. This is an indoor sport which brings more issues to the table. Indoor sports are not being treated the same as outdoor sports, therefore the hopeful return date of August 1 for indoor sports is later than that of outdoor activities date of July 20.

Not all sports have been affected yet, but summer practices are in jeopardy for sports such as volleyball and soccer. These sports don’t start until July, but with no knowledge of how long this pandemic will last, there is no certainty that these practices will occur, according to Mr. Sobolov.

For the golf team and unified soccer teams, who do not practice in the summer, the only way these will not occur is if the NHIAA cancels the fall season. This is not out of the question, but as of right now everything is on schedule for them.

Though nothing is certain, things are looking promising for fall athletes. Hopes are high for every team this year, and with any luck this pandemic will soon be a thing of the past.

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