By LORENZO RECUPERO
The field hockey and soccer teams at Everett High School were scheduled to be the first in the city to jump into the modified Covid-19 era of HS Sports in Massachusetts this week but climbing virus infection rates in the community and surrounding areas have forced both seasons to be pushed back.
“We are encouraging everyone to wear mask and social distance so we can play,” said Melissa O’Donnell, fourth-year head coach of field hockey at EHS, who was scheduled to lead her team into their first competition of the year against St. Mary’s of Lynn on September 8 but the match was postponed because Everett as a community has been designated a “high-risk” area or in the “red category”.
A high-risk community, ac- cording to the state, means there’s more than 8 cases of Coronavirus infection per 100,000. Other communities in the area currently designated a red zone include Chelsea, Revere, Lynn, Salem and Saugus amongst others.
The Greater Boston League (GBL) has two high-risk communities, including Everett and Revere, which forced the league’s governing bodies to place fall sports on hold and designate all sports, including football, soccer, volleyball and golf unplayable until the spring season or until each team in the league drops out of the high-risk category.
“We’ve had no practices or gatherings as a team so far,” said O’Donnell, who laments the very real possibility that fall sports may not be played at all in the 2020-2021 school year due to the ongoing pandemic.
“With the MIAA changing regulations regularly, unfortunately, we have to do what’s best for us all given the circumstances,” O’Donnell said, feeling for her seniors that were looking to add some normalcy and sports back into their schooling experience. “We have no answers [for the seniors]. Don’t want to say that, but it’s just how it’s going right now,” she said.
Until further notice, or at least until infection rate numbers dip in Everett, all fall sports schedules will be “floating”, which means they will at least be postponed until the spring.
“I’m hoping [there’s a season]. I’m looking at it like there’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel and the seniors get their chance to play,” said O’Donnell.