How Winter Sports are being affected by Omicron

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Jocelyn Hsu

The Varsity Boys Basketball team has been especially effected by Omicron due to their crowded indoor setting.

Since 2022 began, many winter sports at Amador have been affected by the new COVID-19 Omicron variant. These sports include indoor sports basketball and wrestling. 

“If you have too many cases in your team…You have to shut down for 10 days. You can’t extend the season so you have to shorten it and play the same amount of games within a shorter amount of time,” said Amador Varsity Boys Basketball player Tyler Cheng (‘23).

To prevent athletes from infection among their teammates, many games have been rescheduled. Inevitably, this has hindered the progress of many scheduled practices in the winter season.

“We have rescheduled seven games. We had ten positive cases at one time, so we were shut down for about two weeks. Over that time, we missed about eight days of practice, nine days in the middle of the season,” said Amador Boys Basketball head coach Willise Gardener.

The crowd level is one of the important aspects of games that is affected by Omicron. To better prevent cross-infection, many sports games have had to transition to guest-only crowds.

“It limited each player to have only four people come for them, so it limited people’s friends to come. Oviously, if there is a big crowd, it does make it more exciting and spirited,” said Gianna Ghio (‘23), captain of Varsity Girls Basketball.

Although spectators can influence the vibe of a game, it might still be depending on the type of sport. Since wrestling is not spectator-oriented compared to other winter sports, there is only a small amount of impact for them. 

“Wrestling has not been that big of a spectator sport so it hasn’t been affected by Omicron as much. The practices have been affected very little since all the wrestlers are kind of in a group together and now you can do social distancing with the wrestling. So practice hasn’t been affected almost at all,” said Blake Kenney (‘22), captain of Varsity Wrestling. 

Even facing the various obstacles brought by the new wave of COVID outbreak, many teams are still carrying optimistic attitudes toward the ongoing season, and looking forward to better performances.

COVID has put a lot of speed on a lot of situations and this is not clearly the best sport for COVID. But with our regulations I think we’ve been very lucky to get through as much as we can and we’re very grateful for every opportunity that we get to be able to do a sport that we love,” said Travis Chubb, AVHS Wrestling Head Coach.

A new update about the upcoming basketball games spectators requirement this week was released in the morning on January 31st, limiting the capacity of the audience.

“On Thursday February 3, 2022 both boys and girls basketball programs will be playing against each other. Per the CDPH, we are limiting indoor capacity to 500 people. In order to be in compliance with this requirement our schools will be only allowing in families and spectators that are on an established gate list. There will not be any admission at the door unless a person is on the established gate list prior to the game day on Thursday, February 3rd,” said Joshua Butterfield, Amador Valley High School Principal.