As most people know, fall sports at Keene State College are looking really different this year. The coronavirus is primarily transferred from one person to another via respiratory droplets from an infected individual’s coughs, sneeze or breaths. The virus can spread very easily when people are in close proximity with each other. Since the virus spreads quickly when people are close to each other, it creates a conflict with most sports because they require athletes to exert themselves while in close contact. At first glance, many people would suggest that athletes should just wear masks and then everything should be alright, but there is a key underlying issue with this suggestion. The issue is that masks do not completely negate the spread of the virus; the mask significantly reduces the range and area of the respiratory droplets, but it doesn’t completely eliminate the spread of it.
This past week, the cross country team and other fall sports at Keene State College have begun to start practicing again. I am a member of the KSC cross country team and this past week has been a very different and strange experience from my previous athletic experiences. For starters, both the mens and womens teams have been separated into running at different time slots. This helps reduce the spread of COVID-19 because it reduces the number of people the virus can spread to. I honestly enjoy, but also dislike, this preventative measure because it allows me to run with others that are at the same pace level as myself. However, it also means that I don’t really have anyone to help push each other to go faster and further. Another con with having smaller running groups is that I can’t really bond with my teammates on runs as much as I would be having during a normal season. I completely understand the whole point of breaking down the team into smaller groups, but I still feel like it’s taking away some of the bonding experiences that go with running with the full team.
Another big change with practices this season is that we are all running with at least six feet or more of distance in between us all. Since it is very hard to run a few miles with masks on, we keep ourselves socially distanced from each other and we are able to lower our masks every so often while running. I personally despise running with a cloth mask on because when I am running, I sweat and when I sweat, the cloth mask gets wet and then the mask begins to get heavy. Once the mask gets heavy enough, when I breath in the cloth gets sucked in alongside the breath. This is a big nuisance when I’m breathing in and out really quickly since it messes with my breathing pattern. Although I would take running with masks on and being separated into smaller groups rather than not being able to have a cross country season at all.
DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinion of Andrew Chase
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