Masks in Sports BY COLIN PARACHEK, REBECA Porto & Mya sobbry

As Shannon Schoch takes the field this year, there is one challenge she has to face that she hasn't encountered so far in her high school career. She is required to wear a mask, at all times, while she competes. Schoch is just one of many athletes at DHS, and across the state, who has to face this challenge everyday in their sport.

“Wearing a mask during my sport might be the hardest challenge I’ve ever encountered while competing,” School said. “If I wasn't a senior who loved playing field hockey, I 100% would have quit.”

On Thursday, September 3, Governor Whitmer repealed her Executive Order 2020-160 which prevented all sports unable to abide by the proper social distancing rules and from competing against opposing schools. As great as this was for fall athletes who now got the opportunity to compete this fall, it was followed up the same day with an Executive Order that required these student athletes to show up, compete, and walk away with a mask covering their faces at all times.

Many students agree with Schoch that mask wearing has been a major challenge.

“Volleyball is a very verbal sport, and with that you need to be able to hear each other so the masks make it kind of hard to do that,”

Junior Avery Goodrich said, noting how masks have interfered with her team’s ability to communicate.

While competing in masks is mandatory due to the most recent executive order, it is not up to the officials/referees to enforce the rule. In all of the sports competing this fall, there is no penalty given if players don't abide by the rules Gov. Whitmer has in place.

Instead, Junior Cal Bavineau says it is up to the players and coaches to make sure they do their job to keep everyone safe:

“In practice (and games) the entire team knows how important it is to wear the masks, we know that if we don’t, there is a chance our season will get cut short.”

Although there is a big challenge that comes with competing in a mask, it is not a challenge that is exclusive to one team or athlete.

“If everyone has to wear a mask, we’re all affected equally,” junior soccer player Ben Pritchard said. “So, although it makes it harder to catch my breath, it hasn’t really affected my play.” ‘

And while most athletes agree that the playing field is even, as everyone has to compete in the mask, senior football player Caleb Drenner plays as if he’s not wearing a mask.

“Wearing a mask has not affected my play one bit, I am still the best pass rusher in the SEC,” Drenner said.

We have come to the conclusion that most athletes agree upon following the mandates so they can play their sport, but where they disagree is if competing in the spring was the best option. Seniors Delaney Arnedt and Anna Shehab both mention that they would rather play Volleyball in the spring, where Senior Charlotte Hawley and Sophomore Clara Thomas would rather have their Dance season in the Spring.

Regardless, the athletes in the Dreadnaught community have proven to be extremely blessed to have the opportunity to compete this fall, regardless of the changes COVID-19 has made to each sport.


Photos by: Sophia Plantz, Beca Porto and Ryan Maki.