Kick back into sports


Alan Schaeffer and Amaya Martinez, Staff writer

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a lack of in-person interaction between students, leaving a number of students feeling unmotivated. But these circumstances have also encouraged some student athletes to be even more eager to get back on the field again. 


Although the upcoming season was scheduled to begin December 14th, it is still shrouded in uncertainty. (All high school sports have now been delayed until CIF receives further notice from the California Health Department. The season is unlikely to start until after January 1.) 


Officials are striving to provide a season, but coaches and players are aware that everything is very fragile at the moment. 


“I think given the circumstance, anything can be taken away from you at any given time and we should not take things for granted,” said Heather Cooper, the coach of both girl’s and boy’s volleyball. “Back in the spring of 2020, when I was coaching the boy’s season, we were basically told we were done.” 


However, the future for the season isn’t the only problem coaches are facing during this time. 

According to Branham’s athletic director, Landon Jacobs, many coaches have been doing unofficial grade checks, finding that a large number of student athletes are not qualifying to participate come December. 


Varsity football coach Stephen Johnson has been checking his athletes’ grades and found similar results. “We’ve definitely seen a large drop-off in academic success this fall and school year,” he said.


Cooper is another one of the coaches conducting grade checks, and like Johnson, has seen many athletes not qualifying. “It’s interesting to see, and I guess it’s kind of heartbreaking that I know some of the students who have succeeded in the classroom are not succeeding now,” she said. 


“We’ll see what happens but we’re hopeful that students are taking care of their work and they’re going to be academically eligible to come out,” Jacobs said.


In some cases, the decline in students’ grades is not due to a lack of motivation, but has been caused by the difficulty of staying focused during at-home learning. “My house is really distracting because everybody’s doing school and work from home,” freshman Coty Carson said. Carson goes to the connectivity center at Branham now to help him stay focused, and says his grades have gone up while he has been there.


On the contrary, quarantine has also caused an increase in motivation among students and coaches are definitely noticing this among their players.


Jacobs explains the reasoning behind this by saying, “Kids are really excited about getting out for the workouts and being able to run right now because they’ve been so limited.”


Freshman Amya Sweatt attends the conditioning sessions for track and field, and she feels that her time in quarantine has increased her motivation to get back on the field. “In quarantine it’s so much harder to feel accomplished in things,” she said. “So it’s really relieving to feel that again.” 


Even though this has been a sports season is still up in the air, students, coaches, and staff have experienced increases and decreases in motivation. Although the lack of academic eligibility may be a critical roadblock, the motivation to get back out there and recover from the hardships we have all been put through in the past year is something that stands out. “Sports are helping individuals get back out there because it’s something different,” Cooper said. “They’re able to mingle and be back with their peers and that’s really what it’s going to come down to.”