YORK — Barb Marois stands off to the facet, watching her York Excessive subject hockey gamers full a stickhandling drill.
“Whats up,” she says. “Right here we go, again at it.”
As a participant completes the drill, she says, “That felt bizarre. I forgot learn how to search for (whereas dribbling the ball).”
Marois, returning to coach the Wildcats after a two-year hiatus, tells her, “Don’t fear, it should come again.”
That was Monday, mere minutes into the primary follow of the autumn for the college’s fall sports activities groups. Like all excessive faculties in York County, the Wildcats had been unable to hold any practices or games since the start of the school year as a result of the county had acquired a “yellow” designation within the state’s color-coded college advisory system in the course of the pandemic. Final Friday, York County turned green, permitting sports activities to start to start Monday.
At York Excessive, that meant a return to follow solely. For now, the Wildcats usually are not planning on enjoying any video games on this abbreviated fall season, which ends for all faculties in Maine on Nov. 14. Even their practices are unconventional.
York is following the hybrid mannequin of its lecturers, splitting its athletes into cohorts. College students who attend college on Mondays and Tuesdays will follow collectively, as will college students who attend college on Thursdays and Fridays (Wednesday is a digital day for all college students). Every cohort group will obtain digital exercises on the times after they’re not at school.
“That is how we’re going to get began and hopefully transfer ahead,” mentioned York Athletic Director Jeff Oliver, who added that video games could be added over the last week or two of the season. “(The colour-coded system) is so unpredictable. If we preserve getting excellent news, we’ll take what we are able to get. I do know the children are simply thrilled to be on the market.”
Whereas coaches want they may have a full-team exercise, the athletes are, certainly, merely glad to be collectively once more. For a lot of of them, their final highschool competitors or follow was in February.
“The no-games factor is unhappy and too dangerous, and it could be superior to have a chance for playoffs,” mentioned senior subject hockey defender Gemma Hopkins. “However everybody goes by means of the identical factor and I’m simply completely satisfied to be out right here with my crew and taking advantage of it.”
If any crew had a purpose to be miffed a few lack of video games, it could be York’s subject hockey crew. The Wildcats have received the final seven Class B South championships and 14 of the final 16.
Christina Dargie, a senior midfielder, mentioned that doesn’t matter.
“Area hockey is a sport I’ve been enjoying because the third grade, so I couldn’t think about giving it up any manner,” she mentioned. “Simply being with the crew, the crew motivates me. I get to see them, I get to follow with them, we encourage one another. I simply have a lot enjoyable with it.”
Marois, a former U.S. Olympic subject hockey participant, mentioned she’ll coach in another way this 12 months.
“There’s often loads of preparation and situational issues that we work on, and different issues we are able to’t do due to the security protocols,” she mentioned. “I simply need them to have enjoyable on the market and play the sport.”
First-year women’ soccer coach Nick Hanlon put his crew by means of a collection of drills that not solely labored on bettering their expertise, however constructing relationships.
He mentioned he might inform his gamers had been having enjoyable throughout their follow.
“(You’ll be able to see the) smiles behind these masks,” he mentioned. “You’ll be able to hear it of their voices, you may hear it of their chatter. That hasn’t been there. I’m a instructor within the constructing and that (enjoyable) hasn’t been within the constructing but. Nevertheless it was out right here as we speak, which is superior. It is a step ahead in the fitting route.”
His objective? “To study names with the face masks on, with the face masks off,” mentioned Hanlon. “Which will appear to be a foolish little objective for October, nevertheless it’s solely been Zoom conferences since July.”
And the gamers are glad to be rid of these, for essentially the most half.
“We had been undoubtedly excited as a result of it was good to see one another once more,” mentioned midfielder Eliza Linn, one among seven seniors on the ladies’ soccer crew. “We’re all good mates … And whereas it stinks that we’re break up up, we’re completely satisfied we are able to at the least do that.”
Junior goalkeeper Allie MacDonald mentioned simply seeing teammates was motivation sufficient to be out on the sphere.
“I simply assume everyone seems to be in the identical boat,” she mentioned. “You’ll be able to both make the most effective of it or don’t present up. What motivates me is to come back right here and see everybody and see what we are able to do.”