Limited Fans Give Odd Feeling to Fall Sports

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Courtesy of Dana Buck

The bleachers at Nonnewaug’s turf field were sparsely populated with fans this fall, as shown at a boys soccer game in October.

Carson Buck, Sports Reporter

WOODBURY — One exciting win for the Chiefs, and not many there to see. With a limited number of fans allowed to attend most high school games, the level of excitement from the sidelines is now like a quiet library.

Nonnewaug only allows a limited number of parents/guardians per athlete during fall sporting events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the beginning of the fall season, Region 14 didn’t allow any spectators at all, including students and parents. Instead, spectators had to watch from the top parking lot — no one besides athletes, coaches, and staff were allowed down on the field. This policy stemmed from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s stated position that “fans should not be allowed at interscholastic contests or practices, including games.”

Even though Nonnewaug reversed course and allowed some spectators (although there are still no student spectators allowed), the limit for the amount of family members is still very low. No spectators are allowed for indoor sports, such as volleyball.

“It feels much different than other years I have been playing sports,” said Nick Higgins, a freshman on the soccer team. “The limit to the amount of family members I can have at my games really makes an impact on how I feel while playing the game.”

The perspective on the limit seems to be a little bit different from a cross country runner.

“This year has been a lot different than other years,” said John Thomas, a sophomore on the cross country team. “It stinks that we have to go to our meet knowing that there is only a limited amount of people that can watch me run. But at the same time, us athletes have our heads mainly just wrapped around running the course. It may not be as hard for us to handle than soccer since we are mainly out of view of the spectators, but it is still exciting to have family cheering us on as we cross the finish line.”

The status of winter sports is still unknown — they won’t be able to start any earlier than when Nonnewaug is scheduled to return to in-person class Jan. 19 — but even if sports are allowed to be played, Region 14’s current rules won’t allow any fans to watch basketball, swimming, or anything else.

Everyone hopes for the best future possible for the Nonnewaug community, whether it is staying safe with this limit or hopefully being able to have lots of family members cheer on athletes for the battle between schools.