COVID-19 Can’t Cancel Love for Fall Sports

Jackson Grabowski and his team making it to State for the first time since 1999


Jackson Grabowski and his team making it to State for the first time since 1999

Carter Ohrt, Reporter

In May of 2020 the small town of DeForest, Wisconsin reacted to the COVID-19 outbreak. The outbreak sent students home to continue their school work.This event was to help ensure students safety from the COVID-19 virus, but since students were not able to be in school, spring sports got canceled. This carried into fall of 2020 where  school started virtually and they tried to open up their fall sports. This fall the cross country team was able to open up and compete, while the football team was forced to move their season to early spring of 2021. 

This fall the football team was not able to play in games, but was given the opportunity to practice and workout. The conditions were very different. Trace Grundahl, Senior on the football team, said ¨Yes, I think some vibes have changed, not a lot of people are as passionate about playing right now like they usually are”.Trace continues by saying ¨Yeah, I think some people think we won’t play [games] this year so they don´t have their hopes up, which hurts me personally, because I am a senior and I just want to be able to play football.¨ Similar questions were asked to Jackson Garbowski, a cross country runner. He responded with ¨I would say yeah, this year, due to all the restrictions and with how far we’ve made it with those, cross [country] this year has brought some really good team vibes and atmosphere compared to the usual.¨ According to Jackson and Trace, COVID-19 had affected more than just playing the sport, but also the players’ attitude, since cross country was able to play this fall and football had to wait until spring to play.

Jackson Grabowski and his team making it to State for the first time since 1999 (WKOW ABC 27)


Since both sports were at least able to practice this fall, they were forced to take some precautions to keep the players and staff safe from the virus. Jackson said of the cross country team, ¨We have to take a lot more precautions including wearing masks at all times when we aren’t running, running in smaller pods, warming up with 6 feet between each guy. And at meets we have different start times and waves of runners to keep exposure low. These changes are all pretty annoying/difficult to deal with, but it’s worth it to keep all our runners safe and be able to keep our season.¨ Similarly, the football team has to ¨Wear masks the whole time and we get longer breaks in between so we can catch our breath because it gets hard to breathe, we also have to keep distance from other people as much as we can,” said Trace.  He continued with ¨We have some weights that we keep under the stadium and we clean them after each person is done and we do more speed and agility workouts on the field, and we also do body weight circuits to keep our strength up.¨ Both sports got to play, but it also gave them more responsibility to obey the restrictions so that they could keep coming back to play the game they love.

Trace Grundahl playing against Reedsburg in 2019 (Andy Manis)

After talking about the precautions that changed their sport, they both talked about things that were missed in their sport. Jackson says ¨One thing that I miss is team chants before the start of a race to get hyped. Usually we would do them every year but this season we can’t because we would be too close to each other.¨ Trace adds, ¨Just being able to play and have the feeling of a whole town behind you cheering for me and my teammates.¨ Due to COVID-19 these things changed, but each team has learned that there are sacrifices and requirements that must be done to be able to play.

Even though this fall football was not able to participate in games they were still able to workout and practice, while the cross country team was able to open up their season and compete. COVID-19 hasn’t just affected schools, businesses and jobs, it has also affected sports and the athletes in these sports. It has affected their attitude and their camaraderie, the way things are done, and their sport as a whole. Fall sports is just one of the many ways COVID-19 has affected our way of life.