Updated: Oct 10
If you are a coach who is lucky enough to have your team in person and safely practicing, be happy. I am such a coach, and even though we have precautions and sometimes get annoyed at putting our masks on when we are not running, I know that our team is better off participating this season than not. I was a huge skeptic about whether or not we should have had Falls sports, and I expect precautions at meets and practice that others may not, but all in all, I am happy to have a Fall Cross Country Season. What are we doing to keep it safe? We arrive in masks, all have our own water, sanitize our hands and maintain our six feet as best as Middle Schoolers can. Coaches are a big part of the reminding process, but the kids get it and respond quickly- they just forget sometimes. We do dynamic stretching and light in place movement for warm up, then remove our masks for and running and drills. My assistant coach and I consistently place the runners in the safe, spaced apart positions for each workout or drill. They catch on quickly. Now the kids know where to stand for drills, we use our water bottles as reminder markers and we utilize our own wingspan to measure more than 6 ft apartness. It isn't stressful and, although it shifts some of my focus away from workouts to safety, we are still getting high quality work done that, and this is important, my athletes are proud of! So coaches, don't give up. Look at what you can do and do that. What you do now speaks volumes to your athletes. Showing them how to adjust and thrive right now NO MATTER WHAT YOU THINK OF THE SITUATION will serve them well. I am pretty sure participating in a sport during the pandemic is not the toughest thing they will face in life, and is already not the toughest thing many of them have already faced. Seize the day, folks, and let's use our strengths as runners to address what is before us today.