HELIX, OR-- Track practice has already begun at Helix High School, despite the risk of COVID-19.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, athletic programs everywhere have been shut down; however, that is not the case for Helix Head Track and Field Coach Rory Simpson. The Helix coach held practice every day this fall for athletes and non-athletes alike to come out and break a sweat.
The world has been hit with a devastating virus that is closing down just about everything. But instead of taking away more opportunities for students, Simpson decided to add one--practice. “I wanted to give students a chance to get better, stay in shape, and get to socialize,” said Simpson.
Helix School, like all high schools in the state, has been very limited in its athletics offerings and in-person classes, so to maintain and follow all public health guidelines, Simpson made practice safe and easy by emphasizing a distance of six feet between all participants. He found athletes who were willing to put in the work and fellow coaches who cared enough to put in some extra time. One of those athletes being Senior Ryann Stahancyk, “I needed to get out of the house,” she said.
Thankfully for Helix, practicing wasn’t too hard, due to Helix being such a small school and practice being held outside. However, one problem that did occur, was using the equipment. “Lifting weights wasn’t incredibly hard, but it definitely was a problem if we had a lot of people that showed up that day, we’d have to wipe down the weights before someone else could use them and if the type of lift required us to have a bench, we’d also have to wipe that down in between uses,” explained Simpson.
Another thing that made practice easier was the fact that Track and Field is a non-contact sport that involves a lot of running. Simpson took full advantage of this and did a lot of two to three-mile runs and lots of other activities such as pool noodle tag, an activity that allows kids to play tag without actually touching each other. “We did a lot of two-mile runs, a couple of three-mile runs, and for Halloween, we ran around town handing out candy to little kids,” said Simpson.
Even though the pandemic is still in full swing, Simpson still has high hopes for the upcoming winter sports season, including boys and girls basketball, Simpson is hopeful that Helix will take the safety measures necessary for winter sports to carry on. “I think it is important to have sports whenever possible and I would like to see some winter precautions put in place so that we can use the gym,” says Simpson.
Although no one knows what the future has in store, Helix still remains hopeful that the pandemic will die down and allow schools to go back to a somewhat-normal schedule that includes sports and other extracurricular activities.