By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
COVID-19 is forcing adjustments in all aspects of everyday life. Sports such as soccer, field hockey, cross-country and golf all hold the benefit of being played outside. Although rules were implemented to limit player contact and prevent the spread of COVID, the Fall I season has been a relative success thus far.
The big test for not only the Bay State Conference (BSC), but all MIAA and high school athletics, will come this winter, when all athletic events are held inside. It remains to be seen whether or not Bay State Conference ice hockey and basketball games will actually take place in the coming months, but as of right now, the plan is to play.
On November 4, the Bay State Conference announced via Twitter that the conference is planning to play a shortened conference-only schedule beginning December 7. However, the conference is still waiting for full clearance and guidance from the EEA and MIAA.
Obviously, adjustments such as close-contact defense, wearing a mask while playing, and staying socially distant on the sidelines and bench areas are going to be necessary. But for now, it appears that Walpole and Needham High School winter athletes should prepare for the season and get set to adjust to the new rules and guidelines.
Schools have not yet released official schedules, and it also remains to be seen as to whether Walpole and Needham will even play each other in hockey and basketball this year. The two schools did not meet at all during the Fall I athletic season after Needham was limited to playing only its neighboring towns (Wellesley, Newton North, Brookline, Natick) and Walpole playing only three teams from the South Shore (Milton, Braintree, Weymouth).
Walpole, however, did release an unconfirmed schedule to the MIAA's official website. Unofficially, Walpole and Needham boys ice hockey are slated to meet on December 19 at Rodman Arena and on January 27 at Babson. The girls ice hockey teams are scheduled to play at Babson on December 19 and at Rodman on January 27. Boys basketball would each square at Walpole on January 5 and at Needham on January 29. Girls basketball would meet in Needham on January 5 and in Walpole on January 29.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.