WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. – Despite concerns over the coronavirus, high school athletes are allowed to start practicing for fall sports on Monday (Aug. 9).
The West Bloomfield Lakers varsity football team is the Division 1 defending the state champion program. Athletes are not required to wear masks.
Monday morning the junior varsity took the season’s first reps before it started to rain. Later in the afternoon, the varsity took to the field in-between raindrops.
Senior safety D.J. Rankin said it was a relief to not have to wear masks.
“It was hard. It was. You have to adjust to the breathing, especially with conditioning. Conditioning got us ready to play with masks but it was just different,” Rankin said.
After only a six-game season last year, newly hired coach Tyrice Grice, is happy about maskless practice and a full game slate.
“It’s tremendous to get these guys back out here and get back to normal. Last year was a little challenging because it was off and on, off and on, not sure we were going to have a season,” Grice said.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association has no direction for schools other than to follow local county mandates. MHSAA spokesperson Geoff Kimmerly said they are prepared for anything.
“We’ve had to do things like turn testing programs around in 48 hours, and you know, everything else in-between. So something comes up, I think we’ll be ready,” Kimmerly said.
The swimmers only wear them on the deck. The volleyball players have to wear them playing.