Author: Anna J. Pruess
During the year 2020, school sports were one of the hundreds of things that were affected by the restrictions put in place as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, though, things have taken a turn for the better, and fall season athletes were able to finish a full season. A few fall season student-athletes were interviewed about the return to sports and the difference between this season and last year’s.
“We only had practice for three weeks,” says Kayo Correa, a sophomore on the girls’ soccer team at AIS Vienna. Indeed, the season was cut short by lockdowns imposed worldwide, but now that that is over, things are starting to look up. Monet Haghnazarian, captain of the JV girls’ volleyball team at AIS Vienna, says, “We have more practices now, and we’re enjoying it more now.” Her judgement is correct, and smiles can be seen on the faces of many of AISV’s high school student-athletes as they practice with their teams and compete in their sport of choice, determined to make the most of their chance, unsure of how long it will last. “I couldn’t prove myself last year, so I have to prove myself this year,” said sophomore Garrett Hull, referring to the upcoming basketball season. The winter and spring seasons did not even happen last year, so basketball players such as Garrett are looking forward to the chance to play again after being forced to take a long break.
On the 2nd and 9th of October, fall season athletes had the opportunity to compete in the Danube Valley Athletic Conference, or DVAC, which was not something they were able to do last year. DVAC was the first major competition for most of these students since two years, and those involved made sure to take advantage of this chance to give their all in a competition. When asked for her thoughts on the conference, Monet Haghnazariansaid it was “very refreshing, and it was nice to interact with other schools.” Kayo Correa also described her experience, saying, “I thought the conference was really cool because it was a fun way for our team to bond on the field and develop a stronger connection while playing as a unit. We had three games, and won all three, and it helped us to learn more as a team.” “We figured out what we can do to get rid of our weaknesses,” said Garrett Hull, who participated in the conference as a middle blocker on the JV boys’ volleyball team. “Whenever you lose to a team, even in one set, it’s good because you think about why you lost and you try to avoid that happening again.”
Not being able to participate in sports last year was detrimental to many of the students’ mental and emotional health, as well as causing a decrease in their physical fitness, so the return to sports has been positively received by all. “It’s been really great for everybody that we’ve gotten to play real games rather than just practicing,” Monet Haghnazarian said. In regards to how the school is handling sports amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Kayo Correa said of the school’s approach, “AIS has done a really good job handling the COVID situation and returning back to normal with sports and stuff.”
After a long time spent confined to their homes and sitting in front of computer screens rather than in classrooms, students are in need of more opportunities to develop their fitness and competitive spirit. The successful fall season was one such opportunity, and AIS’s passionate, earnest, and driven student-athletes definitely took advantage of it, giving every practice and match their all. As we, the AIS community, prepare for the winter season and get ready to support the high school basketball and swimming teams, we look forward to seeing more of the determination and fierce competition that characterizes the AIS Knights. In the words of Garret Hull, “A form of fun is finally coming back!”