It’s the end of September, and we are smack dab in the middle of fall sports season.
We have only one child from this family playing this year; she’s on the JV soccer team. The past three years, we’ve had at least one, and often two, exchange students, plus at least one or two of our own children. From the end of August through mid-October, good, solid family meals are often set aside for a “grab and go” option. For the kids, that sometimes meant super market eating, as they scrounged for whatever appealed to them in the time between school’s end and game’s start.
But this fall, the high school won’t allow exchange students. Our house is quieter.
Even more impactful are the changes to the home high school games. We have made it a point to be supportive of our children’s friends, or of our own friends’ children. So we have usually attended at least a few home games for boys’ soccer, varsity girls’ soccer and football games. Last year, we even added in girls’ field hockey once, I believe.
Not surprisingly, for COVID-19 safety reasons, everything is different. Soccer just has to wear a mask; the game is left essentially the same. Football, however, has been dramatically changed beyond mandatory mask wearing. It’s “7 v 7”, meaning only fourteen on the field at any time. And it’s flag football, not full on tackle.
Even more importantly for spectators, only up to four family members are allowed. Players have to register their family members beforehand; attendees agree to wear masks and sit only with their own family unit, maintaining at least six feet of social distance. There is no milling about, no meeting up with adult friends to cheer on their children, no concessions, no standing by the fence line to greet the players for a postgame chat.
We attended our first soccer game last night, and we do plan on supporting our daughter and going to all the home soccer games. We’ll skip the away games. Although we’ll send her with plenty of warm clothes—the bus windows must be kept open to move air on the way home. It will likely be pretty chilly pretty soon; this is Vermont, after all, and we had a killing frost the second week of September already this year.
The silver lining to all of these changes? Family supper has returned!