St. Louis County has lifted even more restrictions concerning youth sports, especially those designated as moderate-contact. All moderate-contact sports, regardless of the age of the athletes were allowed to start playing games on Sept. 28.
Moderate-contact sports include boys soccer, girls volleyball, softball and field hockey.
However, competitions still look a little different. Facial coverings are required to be worn when an athlete is not warming up or physically engaging in the game.
In addition, rules released by the St. Louis Suburban Conference are that there are no spectators allowed at indoor competitions.
For outdoor events, each athlete will be limited to two spectators each and they must remain six feet apart and wear facial coverings. There is also a cap of 50 spectators at each game. Each school does have the right to further limit the number of spectators if they wish.
Activities Director Jon Sumner said, “We will have the same expectations for our athletes that we do on campus when we play away [in St. Charles or Jefferson counties] just like we do for low-contact sports that are being played now.”
The rules for spectators at Rockwood games in the district and out of the district are still subject to change. The full list of regulations released by St. Louis County can be found here.
Head Softball Coach Ashley Lewis said initially the season wasn’t looking like it would be as long as it was originally supposed to be, but Lewis and her team are determined to do their best in the time that they are allotted.
“I am so happy we are able to play. We have a lot to do in a short time. We have to give these seniors everything we got,” Lewis said.
Having friends and family support the players on her team is part of what makes softball worth it for Lewis, so the restrictions set on spectators is particularly tough for her.
“We love it when our families and friends are able to attend games. We have a loud cheering section. It is fun to have people cheering you on,” Lewis said.
Senior softball player Kate Sommer has been playing since her freshman year. At first, Sommer didn’t have any hope that softball or other moderate-contact sports would return to play games in the season.
“I only had a little hope but definitely not a lot due to the fact that it didn’t seem like anyone was playing. It felt a bit unfair that everyone else was going back around us, but I understand where it was coming from,” Sommer said.
Although the year wasn’t the spectacular senior year she had in mind, Sommer is just happy to be playing the game she loves with the team she loves.
“I was so happy to hear that we were going back, just over the moon excited that I get to play my senior year. I think that now we have a really good team and we didn’t lose too much from last year. We have good pitching, we’ve proved that we can hit the ball, now it’s just a matter of executing it,” Sommer said.
Seniors Abby Denen, Kylie Jansen, Elayna Malak, Izzy McSpadden and Mia Simpson are part of the varsity field hockey team. For them, having spectators is a huge step forward in having the season return to a “new normal”.
“I think having spectators will greatly change the atmosphere of the game. It gives the players motivation to play their hardest for a purpose,” McSpadden said.
“I think spectators add a sense of motivation for the players on the field, it adds intensity too,” Simpson added.
However, fans will get the chance to watch some of their teams compete as many of the events are being live-streamed. Several teams are doing their own live-streaming and some contests are being picked up by PrepCasts.
Sumner has made arrangements for the Activities Department to live stream some games and also include some play-by-play for some. The Lancer Feed staff’s Digital Media staff’s managing editor, senior Kevin Vera is working with Sumner to make that happen.
“Mr. Sumner approached me with this idea about a week before school. We spoke over email and talked about what we wanted to do with this. We just wanted to give parents and students a way to watch the games,” Vera said.
The live streams can be found on the Lafayette High School website by clicking the “athletics” tab on the bar at the top of the page, then clicking “Lafayette Athletics” from the drop-down menu, then clicking “Live Events”.
The Lancer Feed will also post information about live-streamed events on social media.