WHS Football: Working Through a Pandemic 

Ashton Worstell 21' & Declan Smith 21', Contributing Writers

 

This year’s football season has experienced a multitude of changes as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the season has still yet to begin. These changes have caused difficulty for the team, yet as the season begins to roll around, the team and their brand new coaching staff have a plan to work through these adjustments. 

 

As of now the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has delayed the start of the season until February 22. This was a very drastic change as the usual season typically begins in mid August. This shift in schedule has called for a completely different game plan than originally designed. 

 

The change in temperature as well as weather conditions is sure to have a substantial impact on how the game is played. Changes in climate will affect players and coaches alike, as the cold weather can be a very challenging factor to adjust to, especially in a game as physical as football. This will also result in the end of the season being much warmer, which is quite the opposite of how the temperature changes during the typical fall season. It will be interesting to see how these conditions affect practices and games throughout the season.

 

Changes in policy and new rules have forced both the players and coaches to adapt in unique ways. Having to wear masks while conditioning has been one of the hardest changes to adjust to so far, as many players say it impedes their ability to breathe. Wearing a mask while practicing can make simple tasks like communicating or water breaks much more difficult. It can be harder to hear instruction, as well, because coaches and players must be able to project their voice through a piece of fabric, ultimately causing for a slightly more chaotic environment. 

 

In addition to these challenges, water breaks have become difficult due to the need to remain six feet away from other players while taking your mask down to drink. Although masks seem to be the biggest concern so far, this is just the start to the list of adjustments that must be made.

 

Head Coach Joe Beveridge shares, “This season is different than any other in many ways. First, with the pandemic it’s made it a little more difficult to get to know the players as well as I’d like to. To me, relationships are the most important aspect in building a team that plays together…” 

 

He also credits the senior class, adding “Since my first day, seniors have been receptive to my message, worked with me in the weight room, learning a new system, and overall buying into the program.”

 

Coach Beveridge also comments about the upcoming season, “Overall success will be improvement on and off the field as young men in the community, classroom, and field. Develop a work ethic to be successful in life, and see our seniors succeed on and off the field and go to the colleges of their choice.”

 

All and all, the pandemic has created tough circumstances for the upcoming football season, but players and coaches have not allowed that to impact their work ethic or goals. With high hopes going into the 2021 season, Coach Beveridge and the Westborough Rangers plan on achieving these goals and coming out equipped come February.