Winter sports delays leave athletes in limbo


Miriam Bloom

Junior Spencer McKula strides forward across his lane during a Dec. 12, 2019 meet at Latin. Due to continual postponement of winter sports this season, boys swimming has been one of many teams held on standby until further notice.

An Ngo, Assistant Editor

Winter sports athletes have been left in limbo as their season has been continually postponed since November by the Illinois High School Association.

The U-High athletics department initially proposed starting winter sports Nov. 16, but University of Chicago administrators rejected the proposal, citing rising coronavirus cases. On Nov. 19, the IHSA announced that all winter sports and activities should cease by Nov. 20. As of now, winter sports may either continue to be postponed or be canceled altogether, potentially overlapping with the spring sports season, according to Athletics Director David Ribbens.

After the IHSA board of directors met on Jan. 13 to discuss future seasons, it announced that February may be a realistic month for all winter sports to resume statewide. Even if the IHSA permits the resumption of sports, the University of Chicago’s administration would also have to grant permission for U-High sports to proceed.

“We’ve been told to just be on standby and just hope for the best,” said junior Linsbert Reynolds, a member of the boys basketball team. “I really do miss playing with my team. I think we really did have a good bond and we had fun.”

Depending on when they’re permitted by the Illinois Department of Public Health and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office, winter sports considered low-risk — swimming and diving, dance and squash — are expected to resume sooner, according to the IHSA. Basketball, considered high-risk, faces more obstacles and is more likely not to have a season this school year.

“We don’t want to put our kids in harm’s way and we understand what we’re missing,” said Mr. Ribbens. “We’re gonna try to do our best to do what we can to bring our students back safely and effectively.”

Optimistic, Mr. Ribbens believes athletes will be back on campus by February. It’s important to have teams back together on campus, he said.
Sophomore Charlie Benton, member of the boys swimming team, understands the value of team practices for students.

“It was a great stress reliever. It was a great coping mechanism. It was great exercise,” Charlie said. “I would be motivated to do my homework, to talk to my family. It was also nice to see people and be with the team.”