The crowd doesn’t go wild…

The crowd doesn’t go wild…

Gabrielle Cassini, Staff Writer

 In Spring of 2021, COVID numbers decreased and Baltimore County families sprung their demands of students going back to in person school. While the classrooms finally betrayed their emptiness, the sports stands of Dulaney High School were packed. People were eager to finally watch athletes back on the field again. The luxuries seemed too good to be true; as a not so jolly holiday present was conveyed. Maryland COVID numbers increased to 9,859 positive cases in December 2021. Many students may have enjoyed their extra week of winter break, but athletes were extremely disappointed with the pause on playing sports. Baltimore County shut down sports from Dec. 22, through winter break. On Jan. 12,sports resumed again. Nevertheless the excitement was high, except the one downfall that was set; no spectators were permitted at any sporting events starting January 18 2022. 

The decision of forbidding those side-line screamers has been criticized but praised as well. Luckily, athletes who came back in person spring 2021 for the hybrid end of school year, experienced the microscale couple weeks of sports. The setbacks started in early December when spectators were first reduced to 50 percent capacity. In the basketball courts, 50 percent capacity resulted in about 210 people. 

When asked if this is beneficial to decreasing COVID numbers, Dulaney athletic director Gregory Karpers said, “ I think the overall goal is to allow the winter sports to get through the season, since they are the one season that still has not played. The goal was to try to limit as much of the general public as we could.” 

For athletes, the lack of a crowd might relieve their anxiety, or hurt their motivation, but when playing at their best abilities, lots of athletes are not fazed. Conversely, Senior at Dulaney, Emily Ruano, has been running track since her sophomore year. Furthermore, Ruano has other opinions regarding this rule.

Ruano says, “I think I perform better with spectators. It definitely pushes me. I mean I do it for myself, but I sometimes dread the race because I have no one watching, and it is usually nice to see someone watching so you can get that support.” 

Likewise, athletic director Karpers feels the same way. Karpers says, “It is definitely different without the students’ being able to watch, and the energy that they bring. Did I ever think we’d be in this spot? Nope, not prior to 2020. It was very strange.I do think that while the decision was tough. I think it was the right decision for the time where we were with the rising cases.”

Furthermore, an update was sent out effective February 7, 2021, allowing spectators back to 50 percent. Karpers was hopeful of this happening before the end of the season, and BCPS even announced visual improvements with positive cases being low. 

Besides the hopeful news, lots of motivation in athletes has still subsided during COVID times. 

Ruano mentions, “I feel like everyone’s motivation is a little lower than before COVID. We do not have as many people, so the team overall is not doing as well as it used to.” 

Despite the updates of spectators being back, athletes who have relied on crowds for internal boosts will have to find new motivations to perform. During these unsustainable times concerning the percentage of COVID cases everyone should still remember rules could change rapidly. 

Regardless, Baltimore County is hopeful to stay at this rate, and support athletes on and off the field as much as possible.