By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The COVID-19 outbreak has paused the entire sports world. All areas and levels of the sports industry are hurting right now.
At the high school level, players are not able to compete. Along with being unable to make memories with teammates and stay active, many athletes are losing the chance to help further their educations. In towns like Dover, Medfield, Westwood, Wellesley, Needham, Walpole and Sherborn, college attendance rates should not see too drastic of a drop next fall (assuming the outbreak ends sooner rather than later). With that said, many spring athletes are relying on this upcoming athletic season to further their educations and put together strong performances, both on and off the field, to help their chances at earning a scholarship to play in college.
Right now, the MIAA is planning to begin its spring athletic season on April 27, so there is hope for these athletes. However, if the season is to be pushed back further or cancelled altogether, it throws another wrench in the gears; each non-committed athlete who intends on playing a sport in college has less and less of a chance with each passing day and every cancelled practice/game.
While writing this on March 22, Medfield, Dover-Sherborn and Wellesley have closed all athletic facilities to the public and locked them with chains. Westwood and Walpole still have their athletic facilities open, but who knows how much longer? Needham’s Memorial Park is technically closed, but people were seen playing on Memorial Field as late as Sunday afternoon.
A positive takeaway from this has been the “stay-at-home challenge,” through which athletes have been showcasing their workouts from home on social media. Among those who have posted videos include Walpole’s Conor Foley, a lacrosse player at UMass Lowell who finished the 2020 season leading the Riverhawks in total points; Medfield native and Middlebury lacrosse’s Frankie Cosolito; and Wellesley High School soccer coaches Adam Colella and Chris DiCecca. Many local athletic programs, such as Medfield Lacrosse, have also been active on social media, posting videos of wall-ball sessions and drills that players can do from home.
For now, all we can do as athletes and sports fans is wait this out. Keep exercising and try your best to stay as active as possible at home. Hopefully, the sports world will return to some form of normalcy soon.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as game highlights, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.