Cover photo courtesy of the Byram Blitz
Article by Brian Zhang
Gradually, sports are reemerging in the U.S. on hesitant terms. Professional leagues have been isolated in bubbles, tournaments have been rescheduled, and stadiums are sparsely filled, in spite of COVID-19 and its uncertainties, American sports culture persists.
In terms of high school sports, many adjustments have been made. There are stricter guidelines, shortened seasons, and even a change of rules. So what’s different for Byram Hills specifically?
Well, the Byram Blitz gives you all the information you need to know. Presented on Bobcat TV, the Byram Blitz reveals the latest news, highlights, and inside information within Byram Hills High School. From analyses to interviews with student athletes, the show incorporates the best of Byram athletics and displays them to students, family, and the Byram community as a whole.
The Blitz is a project run by aspiring editors, designers, videographers, and commentators at the high school. As a part of the Bobcat Media & Marketing Club, the original video content allows for students to collaborate and take on new challenges. From producing high quality content to helping stream athletic events for the district, it’s given many students a voice.
In the first episode of 2020, hosts Ansh Arvati, Drew Krevolin, and myself recap fall sports and preview winter athletics at the high school. In the video, it was mentioned that boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis, cross country, and field hockey all started in late September. These teams are in their final stretch of the season as we head into the winter. Sports including girls varsity swim, varsity football, and cheerleading, which are typically played in the fall, have been pushed back to March 1.
In the 11 minute video, the hosts were also able to speak with two varsity soccer players about their perspectives on COVID-19 and its implications. You can check out the full episode with the link at the bottom of the article, or read on to see the Q&A with junior Bennet Rakower and captain Aidan Cogan.
Throughout the year, the Byram Blitz will continue to bring updates about sports within the district and perspectives from student-athletes in these unprecedented times. Be sure to check out the weekly videos and stay up to date with our Byram Hills athletes.
Q&A with Varsity Soccer Athletes Bennet Rakower and Aidan Cogan
*At the time of the interview, the soccer season was still going on*
Coronavirus has dramatically changed our lives. How have you guys been doing during these crazy times over the past few months?
It’s been good having soccer to kind of fall back on. It’s something to take my mind off of everything that’s happening and it’s a great activity. Every day after school I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to do or being stuck home doing nothing. It’s some sort of consistency that we have in our day-to-day lives which is not something we really have a lot of right now. – Aidan
Specifically, how has COVID affected soccer training for you?
It’s more or less the same. We take the six feet away guidelines seriously during practices, meetings, etc. Other than that like we gotta control the controllables. The things we can’t control, there’s no point in arguing about them or making excuses about them. We just got to continue playing how we usually play. – Bennet
How have coaches adjusted the way you guys practice and prepare for games?
I think our coaches have done a good job of not making practice too different. I think the whole idea is to get back to normal as much as possible while still being safe. We’re still doing a lot of movement drills that simulate scrimmages and we’re still doing almost everything we’d usually do. The only difference is we’re just doing everything in masks, but it’s basically just like business as usual. – Aidan
How have you been able to stay motivated after such a long time away from your sport?
I feel like we’re motivated just to step on the field every day. We know any chance we could wake up one morning our season can be canceled or postponed or whatnot. So we’re just grateful that every day we have the opportunity, as of right now, to continue and play. -Bennet
How will you make sure you guys continue to work together as the year progresses, when it’s difficult to always be face-to-face?
I think we’ve done our best to ensure that everything runs smoothly as a team and keeping everything well. And we stressed this a lot last year because there was even more competition by position, but we keep in mind no one’s spot is really safe. We’re all kind of working against each other, but like the saying “iron sharpens iron,” we’re all in turn helping each other out and helping the team. Because of that, we’ve gotten good results, and when you get good results, team morale is generally high. Everyone’s having a good time. – Aidan
There is no student section in soccer this year due to COVID guidelines. With no fans in the stands this year, how have you guys been affected when you play out there? What adjustments have you guys had to make in a new, quieter atmosphere?
I mean we definitely miss the fans. We miss that atmosphere, we miss everyone cheering us on, but there’s really nothing we could say about it. There’s nothing we’ll be able to do at this point so we just got to continue playing how we’ve been playing. Generating our own adrenaline, cheering on each other, and being into voices for each other, that’s what motivates us throughout the game. – Bennet
Check out the first e-Byram Blitz of 2020 below: