Sports allowed to compete indoors

While outdoor competitors have been on the field since last fall, indoor sport athletes across Los Angeles County have been unable to experience the same—until recently. 

Initially, many officials had decided against reopening school gyms, primarily due to concerns about the ventilation systems utilized in many facilities; however, changes such as loosening COVID restrictions and the growing number of high-quality air filters have signaled a greenlight for indoor sports.

Since mid-March, the Diamond Bar High School boys and girls basketball and co-ed badminton teams have started practicing indoors. Although players are adapting to the transitions fairly quickly, some of the regulations are proving to be a struggle. 

“Masks are required and impact our performance a lot, as it makes us tired much faster,” junior badminton player Kodi Lee said. “Masks make it harder to breathe while training but this is something that I’ve come to peace with because it just builds my endurance.” 

In a game where players are constantly sprinting up and down the court, masks make it harder to breathe and easier to overheat. Numerous players reported feeling light-headed and nauseous during the first few weeks of training. Practices are also now cut short due to the amount of time it takes to sanitize all equipment after using it. 

Though masks and social distancing were a challenge at first, though, the major inconvenience lies in COVID testing, players reported. Twice a week, basketball players are required to endure a painful swab up their right nostril in order to participate in games, where such measures are still prone to false results. In the boys’ most recent game against San Dimas High School, two players on the opposite team tested positive for the virus, resulting in urgent contact tracing and a several day quarantine for all team members.

Despite the minor nuisance, testing has also provided many benefits, such as enabling players to disregard social distancing and choose whether or not to wear a mask during games.

Meanwhile, this year’s DBHS girls volleyball season was canceled because head coach Lauren Adnoff and junior varsity coach Megan Chung both quit the team. Practices halted altogether in early February, leaving many seniors and returning players disappointed. 

Despite the challenges that accompany the transition, many are just grateful to be back on the court. Basketball holds practices nearly every day from late afternoon to early evenings, and badminton occupies the gyms on Saturday mornings. 

“Overall, it’s extremely refreshing to actually have practice and watch things slowly go back to normal,” Lee said. “Although things aren’t 100 percent normal yet, just being able to train and get back into the groove is something I’m so thankful for.” 

Looking forward to what the current and future holds for them, all teams hope to finish this abbreviated and unprecedented season triumphantly. 

“Even though certain aspects of our season are not what we were accustomed to due to the small amount of time we had together, we’re lucky to have a great team skill wise and personality wise,” Ho said. “I can’t wait to start winning games with all of them.” 

Both DBHS girls and boys basketball are scheduled to play Walnut today, where boys basketball is set to assume league schedule after a false-positive testing scare. The badminton team is also set to compete in their first league game against Wilson High School this Saturday.