Student Feature: 'Sports during the pandemic'

Jun 2, 2021

School sports looked pretty different this year. Dillingham 11th grader David Wetter talks about his own experience as a student athlete during the pandemic.

David Wetter, left, and Thomas Tinker carry in the wrist carry event during the 2021 NYO Games. April 3, 2021.
Credit Izzy Ross/KDLG

Sports are something many residents in Bristol Bay can connect with. Sports to me are a time when I can express myself. However, since COVID, our gyms have been quiet for almost a year, and that hurts. Don't mistake this as a lack of empathy. In no way are gyms being closed as bad as everything else COVID has done. However, due to an increase in vaccinations, and diligent mask-wearing, these past few months we have been able to get into the gym. Basketballs bounce, and volleyballs are spiked -- what wonderful sounds.

Sports mean a lot to my friends and me, and we hope that we can travel next year and display our dedication to other teams. This year we couldn’t do that. Seeing the Wolverine teams practice with almost no hope of traveling or competing is truly a sight. Everyone pushed themselves as hard as possible even with masks on, and chose to show up at practice to better their skills. Wrestlers did not even get to roll out the mats, and they continued to lift weights and condition with the same work ethic as any other year.

Sports this year have done more for me than in a normal year. Due to lockdowns and social distancing, I stopped my normal activities and was quite literally lying in bed all day. I was the most physically out of shape I have ever been. But when basketball started, I was able to get back in the motion of exercise, and when wrestling started, I worked even harder than normal to be healthier.

This season, no matter how beneficial, had some downsides. I am talking about the graduating class of 2021. The seniors. I have played sports alongside these people my entire middle/high school experience. This year was supposed to be the culmination of all our dedication and work. We finished last basketball season with no senior boys, so we were all happy to give regions and state a go with the same team. Sadly, that chance will never happen. My heart goes out to those seniors whose last season as Wolverines was spent following COVID guidelines instead of winning championships.

Lastly, I want to address the coaches that added me and other athletes to their already busy lives. Amanda Luiten, Kristin Smeaton, Levi Fuller, Travis Henderson, Virginia Bobbitt, Willie Savo, Jack Savo and Reed Tennyson. Also, the Athletic director Cassie MacDonald.

In NYO, Coach Luiten and Kristin you were always there to give advice, anytime I asked how to stretch a muscle that was sore from kicking to high, you’d have one. Ms. Bobbitt and Krisitin, you let me hop in to volleyball with no experience. It sure was fun to learn something new. In basketball, Levi and Travis, you two taught me a lot this year. Levi the many times you opened the gym are greatly appreciated. In wrestling, Willie, Reed, and Jack, you three gave me a lot. Willie and Reed taught me how to be self-dedicated and gave me every tool to get physically healthier and stronger. Jack you showed up -- even with your busy work schedule -- and gave us your time on the days we needed it. Thank you, coaches. You took a miserable year and did everything you could to make it better. Cassie, as AD you stayed involved with us and got us every opportunity you could. You truly put in a lot of effort. Thank you. I am sure without sports that this year would have been far worse, and I would have been physically and mentally unhealthy.

This piece was written for an English class at Dillingham High School. The students chose to write either a personal essay, a poem, or an opinion piece for the radio and web. The views expressed here are entirely the writer's, and do not necessarily reflect the views of KDLG.

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