- High School
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected thousands of people across the world. Despite the tough situation, however, Seisen International School was able to return to in-person learning, while prioritizing discipline and safety in the newly implemented school protocols. Since the Seisen community has spent approximately half a year without returning to online learning, the teachers and faculty members are extremely proud. At the beginning of the year, the school was not sure whether the sports seasons would take place as some schools have had to close down due to the spread of infections. However, as the first semester comes to an end, we are relieved that the three fall-season sports achieved outstanding results and had an enjoyable season while maintaining safety precautions. But, what do the athletes think about the season? To answer this question, I interviewed three athletes from cross country, tennis, and volleyball.
In cross country, the team members used to practice at different courses such as SMIS hill, Kinuta park, canal, and other places around Yoga station. However, this year all the practices were held at either the canal or the hill near the north gate to limit the movement of students. In addition, the athletes were only able to have team practices three times a week as opposed to four or five. Olivia K. (12), one of the team captains, said that all team members, including herself, took their personal time to train outside of school. In addition, she responded that a big change was that the races were held on a track, instead of the usual cross-country course at Tama hills. While track courses are flat and are created in the form of laps, cross country courses include uphills and downhills, a one-way course. “It was difficult to adjust to the change because some team members felt disappointed about the new courses while others were concerned about the risk of COVID,” Olivia says. Furthermore, she explained how unusual it felt to not have an audience because they usually help encourage and motivate the athletes during the races. Nonetheless, the season was successful not only because the races took place, but also because everyone was able to set more personal records.
The situation for other sports, such as tennis, has been quite similar. Tennis matches were held outdoors with two to four people on one court, which helps to reduce the risk of infection and expose the athletes to less danger compared to other sports events, but they still had to social distance and reduce the number of matches to be safe. A member of the Tennis varsity team, Ayaka N.(10) claimed that the time given to warm up for the match was much shorter compared to last year and due to the added safety protocols, the tennis team wasn't able to have as many games and practices. This was to cut down the amount of time spent with people on the court, including teammates and opponents. In regards to the audience, this year, parents were not allowed to watch the matches, so Ayaka felt as if “there was less of a cheerful atmosphere on the court.”
Volleyball, being an indoor sport in contrast to the two outdoor activities, needed proper air circulation in the gym in addition to other measures. Reina Y. (11), a member of the Varsity team, said that this year, the coaches also made sure that each team didn’t use the same ball while warming up for a game. Furthermore, similar to the other sports, the games were quieter without the support and cheers from the audience. Reina says she was worried about having to interact with other teams due to the risk of coronavirus, but she was grateful for the successful season as both JV and varsity were able to win their tournaments.
Despite the many difficulties during the season, our athletes were optimistic and had an enjoyable season. Moving forward, we still need to make sure that everyone maintains COVID protocols and stays safe in order to have a bright future for the upcoming sports seasons!