IHSA postpones winter sports indefinitely


Emily Ryan

Gyms and other winter sports facilities will remain empty for the start of the season.

Ethan Taylor, Sports editor

After a fall sports season that was just about as successful as it could have been, IHSA had high hopes heading into the winter season, including a plan to move forward with medium-risk sports for the first time in the 2020-2021 season. That plan quickly fell flat when COVID-19 cases began to spike again, resulting in governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health to release a joint statement stating that all medium-risk sports will be postponed until the spring. 

IHSA, however, had other plans heading into the winter, including going forward with a basketball season that the department of health deemed unsafe, along with all other regularly scheduled winter sports with the exception of wrestling. 

After a short stint where the IHSA attempted to override the IDPH and go forward with basketball, the governor made it clear that school districts should disobey this attempt and avoid the liability of playing a winter season. Only 10 schools across the entire state informed IHSA that they would participate in a winter season. RB was not one of them. 

The remaining winter sports, which were Boys swim, dance and gymnastics, all started practice at RB on Monday, November 16th, but were informed only two days later that they would have to pause their gatherings for a minimum of two weeks due to Illinois’ COVID cases spiking immensely yet again, resulting in the Governor having to put restrictions on all indoor recreational activities, beginning Friday, October 20th, which effectively paused all high school sports. 

After hearing this announcement, RB sent an email out shortly after, stating that as of Wednesday, November 18th, RB is beginning their adaptive pause from all in-person practices and extracurricular activities. 

“The RBHS administrative team, with the safety and health in mind for our student athletes… have decided that today, November 18, will be taking an adaptive pause with all in-person activities,” Stated the email sent from the RB principals. 

The IHSA’s statement was parallel with RB’s, stating that they were doing everything they could to avoid a pause in winter sports, yet that condition of the state of Illinois became too poor to go forward with high school athletics. They also pointed out that a pause now could lead to safer and more successful seasons in the spring and summer, rather than running the risk of playing through a consistently worsening winter season. 

RB had many athletes who were upset about the idea of missing an entire season of their sport, especially seniors, who could potentially be missing out on their last chance to participate in a sport that they’ve committed countless hours to during their time at RB. 

“I want to remain as hopeful as I can but I am a little skeptical. We were told at the beginning of our original quarantine that we would only have to stay at home for two weeks before returning to school and it has been a lot longer than that. I’m scared that the same thing will happen again and winter sports will end up being canceled.” said Charlie Buh, a senior on the boys swim team, when asked about his perspective on the possibility of the swim season resuming practices.

The IHSA plans to meet on December 2, and again on December 14, in hopes of choosing a date to resume all winter activities if COVID cases begin to trend downward.