The impacts and influences COVID-19 had on Forest Hills Central athletics


COVID-19 has impacted almost everyone, both young and old, no matter what race or gender, no matter the place you live, everyone seems to have been impacted in some way.  It is no different at Forest Hills Central High School. Students and teachers’ worlds were turned upside down during COVID-19. Life was changed as students and teachers were forced from attending school for months on end. Most of us began to adjust to learning and or teaching over a Zoom meeting. However, the impact that COVID-19 left on everyone not only affected school life but many other programs as well. One specific program that was impacted greatly at FHC was the athletics department.

Athletes and coaches were heavily affected by the impacts of COVID-19. Every sport had to adapt to the pandemic restrictions and needed to adjust to the new way sports would be played due to the regulations that were set in place. Some of these changes included athletes having to wear masks, canceled practices and games, modified training schedules, and more. “We had to play with masks, which was awful,” Lily Ohlman said, a junior on the girls tennis team. “And group workouts would get canceled all the time, and my tennis schedule was really broken down.” Athletes saw limited improvement, causing stress and anxiety, with some even losing their passion and love for their sport(s). 

Not only were the sports altered, but the relationships between teammates and coaches were also heavily impacted. Athletes and coaches faced obstacles such as social distancing and limited to no interactions with one another at all. Many teams, however, would participate in Zoom meetings to be able to communicate with one another. Although individuals were able to connect, oftentimes they were not able to gain that in-person experience that allows one to bond with others. “You feel like there is a barrier,” Anthony Sultini said, a Forest Hills Central football coach. “It doesn’t feel as authentic with a screen.” 

Although many struggled during the COVID-19 season, some were able to learn important lessons that they incorporated into their sports. Many learned to adjust and improvise with everything that was thrown their way. “Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow,” Charlotte Stephan said, a senior on the gymnastics and softball team. “It helped me to be more flexible and learn to be okay with changing a plan without a ton of notice.” 

COVID-19 taught many of us to never take anything for granted. Before our lives were turned upside down, many of us were extremely comfortable within our small worlds. With everything happening around us, it never occurred to us that our world could change so drastically and so quickly. However, that’s exactly what happened. Fast forward to today, and athletes and coaches are starting to appreciate what they have. “You take a lot of things for granted,” Anthony said, “like the small things that we do, but they end up meaning so much more nowadays.”

Athletics at Forest Hills Central High School have forever been changed by COVID-19. We have learned to adapt to the regulations and the constant schedule changes and try to bond with one another even with all of the mandates in place which were keeping everyone safe. Even with all of the difficult times that FHC athletics faced, many of us were able to take away important lessons that we likely wouldn’t have gained if this tragic event never took place. 

“Be grateful for what you have because it is never given,” Charlotte said, “I had my first year completely taken away, and an altered second year. This helped me to be grateful for these last two years and taught me to enjoy it while I still can.”