Playing Football During A Pandemic
After Weeks of Practice, Badgers Host First Scrimmage Tonight
August 21, 2020
Tonight the football team will play at Badger Field for the first time since November 2019. The varsity Badgers will face Navasota for a scrimmage at 6:30 p.m. JV and freshmen will play at 5:00 p.m.
The past year has been anything but normal due to the public health crisis COVID-19 spreading worldwide since December 2019. With cancelling seasons in every state due to the uprising of cases, football looked doomed this year.
That was until the Texas UIL announced in July that they will let 4A schools and below continue with their seasons on time. 5A and 6A will wait until September.
Lampasas continued with their practices during the summer and “two-a-days” the week before school was scheduled to start. The coaching staff has implemented protocols to play football safely and save the upcoming football season.
¨In the past, we haven’t had to worry about social distancing or wearing face coverings while on the field or in meeting rooms and locker rooms,”defensive coordinator Samuel Waldrip said. “With the pandemic, those things have become the new ‘norm.’ It is different, but if it means we have to do these things to play football this season, I think every player and coach will have no problem doing what it recommended.”
Players seem to be hopeful about the upcoming season and they are following the guidelines in place. Adjusting to the changes is not easy for everyone, but most believe it is worth it to play.
¨I think some of it is probably frustrating,”safeties and JV defensive coordinator Tanner McLean said. “Not getting to interact with your friends as you usually would, the discomfort of the masks, etc. But I think overall they’re just happy to be back in the field-house and getting to compete.”
This year will not look ¨normal” on the gridiron.
¨I am not big on ‘normalcy,’ head coach Troy Rogers said. “I believe we are always evolving and changing. Nothing stays the same. You are either getting better or worse, daily. It’s your choice how to use your time. That is why we ‘Earn The Right To Win’ in athletics. It is a daily mission to get better.”
New policies include that all players must wear a face covering of some sort while in the field house, they must maintain social distance when possible and they must sanitize their hands regularly.
Coaching staff has spread out their lockers as every other one in the locker rooms and they must wear a mask in the locker room as well. The coaches also sprayed bleach water onto the lockers to kill bacteria and the players return all worn items during the day to be washed by the coaching staff to help prevent COVID-19.
¨We are wearing masks and sanitizing and social distancing,” Rogers said. “We are washing all the laundry every day and disinfecting locker rooms, the meeting room and the weight room after each use.”
Additionally, game tickets will be sold virtually instead of in person. Attendance will also be set to only allow 50% capacity including parents etc. Everyone is required to wear masks inside the stadium unless they have a condition that prevents that. Players will also wear masks on the bus rides over to the stadium and back.
It will look different but football will be the same.
“It’s going to be different,” McLean said. “What we have to understand is normal isn’t on the menu right now so take it for what it is. It won’t be any different for our program. We’re there to play a football game and that’s what we’re going to do, but it will be a different experience for fans.”
How long they will be able to play is depending on a rapidly evolving situation every day with how COVID-19 is changing. The season can be cancelled at any moment or they can have a full 10+ game season which is what the coaches are planning for.
¨I think they are just grateful to have the opportunity to compete,” wide receiver coach Logan Simmons said. “We always tell them you never know when your ‘career’ is going to end so give it your all every day, and I think they see that now. There’s a deeper appreciation because they’ve seen that it could all end in a flash. They appreciate the game, the time they have out there and their brothers more.”
The official season kicks off at home next Friday Aug. 28 vs the Brownwood Lions at home at 7 p.m. It will also be Senior Night.
¨I expect us to win a lot of games and have a lot of fun doing it,”varsity player Peyton Underwood said. “We do have to wear masks and spread out to practice social distancing but it doesn’t affect the way we play football.”