December may be over, but winter sports are just beginning.  Winter sports usually start in the month of November, but due to fall spikes in COVID, a statewide mandate forced all winter sports to pause. But finally, after months of canceled activities, most school sports are starting.  The week of the eleventh, Providence students will return to basketball, hockey, and skiing. albeit with modifications. 

Masks are among the biggest changes to this year’s winter seasons.  The masks are going to be an extra layer between the players and the air they need when working hard. It also wouldn’t be a true COVID season without social distancing, but this poses an extra challenge to teams trying to work together while maintaining a six-foot distance.

The Providence boys Varsity basketball team during a game.

Basketball player Ellie Millerbernd ‘22 commented, “I think that it’s really hard to truly bond with the team as we have in the past. It’s more difficult to communicate with my teammates on the court and even the rest of the team on the bench because of the masks and the social distancing (even the seats are 6 feet apart). We can’t even high five each other. It will be a weird adjustment, but our team already seems to be making the best of it.”

For the girls’ hockey team, masks and social distancing aren’t the only things they need to adjust to.  Starting this year, the girls’ hockey team is co-oping with St. Paul Academy so that is just another thing they have to work through to try and be at their best. 

Hockey player Ava Wasserman ‘22 reflected on the changes of the season, “It’s tough for sure, only having two weeks of practice before playing our first game with the new girls.” 

The feeling of being disconnected does not just exist between teammates. As of now, there are no spectators at any of the games except for immediate family, causing a disconnection between the players and their usual fans. The dynamic is a far cry from having a full student section cheering for your every move to a small number of your usual fans. 

Heidi Wasserman, a PA mom who is one of the few able to watch her daughters hockey games, also commented, “With all these changes, I am just happy that the girls still get to play and still even have a season.” 

Some of the girls’ hockey co-op players pose for a masked pic

This sentiment rings true among the community.  Athletes are happy to be back in the gyms and hockey rinks, even if it means a shorter season, difficult social distancing protocols, and masks full time. Although the changes pose challenges, PA coaches, students, and parents alike understand how lucky Providence athletes are to still be able to play.

Varsity hockey player Josh Mogeni ‘22 affirmed, “We just have to make the best of it because we don’t have that much time left altogether, mask or no mask.”