Covid 19 Impact on Players


As of early January, the extremely contagious Omicron, a variant of COVID-19, has caused the number of COVID cases to skyrocket across the state. The result has forced Berkley High School winter sports teams games to be canceled or postponed in compliance with health and safety precautions. Since Michigan has reached a record number of daily average COVID cases, what will be the effect on our Berkley student-athletes?
For instance, the Berkley Bears and Detroit Country Day basketball teams were supposed to face off on January 13th in a highly anticipated non-league matchup. However, because of the COVID outbreak at Country Day, the game has been canceled.
I asked senior Zach Vigliotti, captain of the boy’s varsity team, about his thoughts on the news of the cancellation. Vigliotti states,“I was looking forward to the game, and I am extremely disappointed that it was canceled. I really wanted to rock it out with my guys.”
Since the game was not a league game, it has no plans to be rescheduled. Not only can Vigliotti not “rock it out with the guys,” but it’s one more game taken away from his final season at Berkley.
Following this cancellation, the school implemented a new rule to combat the virus. Now at all home sporting events, there is a 100-person limit.This rule has been adopted and applied throughout Oakland County, including Seaholm, Royal Oak, and many others. This guideline is a school mandate, Superintendent Scott Francis stated, “After reviewing the MDHHS guidance, we have decided to reduce capacity at our after-school events to 100 people for the time being.”
I talked to junior Alex Basmadjian, captain of the JV basketball team, about how COVID and the new safety precautions have affected his season. Basmadjian expressed his thoughts by saying, “I had to miss two games this season, and I came back super rusty. With this new rule, I am going to miss the energetic atmosphere of a full arena.” Basmadjian also told me that his team “feeds off the energy” and that his whole team will definitely miss their fans.
Other than the Boys’ basketball team, the wrestling and girls’ basketball team have also experienced covid repercussions. On Jan. 12, the wrestling team will host a home meet, but Berkely will only have 6 athletes participating, as a result of a COVID outbreak.
Junior Alex Papadopoulos had this to say about the upcoming meet: “We had to shut down for almost a week. The people coming back are out of shape and are not in great wrestling condition.” Papadopoulos still thinks that his team will compete and “work super hard” as they face these obstacles.
Not only has the wrestling team had athletes out because of COVID, but so has the girls’ basketball team. With two key players already missing two games, the season has taken a slight turn.
Junior Sammi Withrow, captain of the girls’ basketball team, talked about the current state of the team, stating, “It’s really challenging now that we have two starters out.” We’ve lost two games in a row, and it hurts our team chemistry.”
The girls’ basketball team has a big hill to climb with league play already underway. Even though this has been a rough stretch for the team, Withrow also indicated that “people will now need to step up” and that she’s super “excited” to see some new faces on the court.
Ultimately, the winter sports programs are facing some new adversity as the middle of the season is kicking off. With the majority of schools within Oakland County implementing a 100 person limit for events held in the gym, this leads us to the question: will this be enough to fight off the virus and keep winter sports running? Student-athletes have questions about the way the school has handled COVID, but with the new variant, there are new obstacles being revealed. Yet, student-athletes have taken the virus head-on and are taking all the precautions necessary to keep the season rolling. Superintendent Scott Francis summed it up perfectly, stating, “We, too, are frustrated that we are back to reducing capacity at our events and canceling or postponing others. We all need to do our part in keeping each other safe and healthy.”