A Limited Edition Year: 2021


Chloe Pszenny, Journalist

Fall two sports are something that was special and was a limited edition to IHS. We all know the 2020-2021 school year was an odd time for everyone, but I’d rather not spend more time talking about it than we already have. Though some good things did emerge from it: fall 2 sports. The creation of fall 2 sports was to limit the amount of traveling teams and IHS athletes in the building as much as possible. This made all sports split into shorter seasons which caused a whole new season to be created. In the traditional fall season there was field hockey, soccer, football and volleyball as usual. The biggest change happened in the winter sports. Fall 2 season consisted of basketball and the winter season consisted of Indoor Track. Then spring sports such as lacrosse, tennis and outdoor track stayed the same. This whole shift of season allowed for student athletes to compete in 4 seasons of sports in a year rather than 3. 

This concept does bring up some pros and cons. Though this was a one time thing, the “issues” were so not important because this was never going to happen again. What came out of fall 2 sports, was more students trying new things and experimenting with new sports they otherwise would have never had the chance to do. The Ipswich Track & Field Coach, Marty Binette voices this when he says, “Having the fourth season allowed typical track athletes a chance to play other sports they normally wouldn’t play, without missing their track seasons.” Though the new season did have a sense of normalcy, the season was cut shorter. There were less games/meets and no tournaments at the end of the season, which is a big deal because there were no crowned state champions at the end of the season. If we were to do it again there would be alot of things to iron out. Weighing options of whether this new season is beneficial or not is a tough conversation. 

I talked to an IHS senior who was lucky enough to play in this new 4th season of high school sports: Olivia Novello. Olivia not only regularly played soccer and both indoor and outdoor track, but got the opportunity to play basketball as well. And this wasn’t just intramural basketball. The “new” basketball season was run the same way. There was both a varsity and junior varsity team. Olivia says, “The preseason was like any other high school sports team you try out for, COVID was no exception.” This just shows that the IHS coaches were continuing to give the same energy as any other year regardless of the circumstances. Olivia also said, “Prior to this season I’ve never touched a basketball other than a rare game of horse or pig with friends.” Just proving that this new sports season allowed for athletes to try new things and experience a new atmosphere, “I’d always watched basketball games and always wondered what it would be like to play it,” Olivia says. Joining a new sport can be scary, but all Olivia needed was a little push from a friend and she ended up having a great time, “I really liked that I got the opportunity to meet people… creating these new connections with people I normally never would have,” said Olivia. She also mentioned that some friendships, even 4 years later, are still going strong from her experience. 

From a coaching perspective the situation is a little different. The students have more time to play whereas the coaches get less time with their team. Talking with Olivia, who participated in both basketball and track, she noticed that a lot of the other girls were all doing the same thing as well. Having the extra season added numbers to the rosters meaning more athletes were willing to play/compete. Coach Binette, says that this season, “Gives athletes who are unfamiliar with track an opportunity to try it out.” As most athletes and coaches know, having more exposure to physical activity only makes you a better athlete. Coach Binette says, “I think that [this new season is] a benefit to all athletes.” From the outside looking in, four sports in one year seems like alot for a student who is also juggling school, work and outside relationships, but others see it as just another opportunity to have fun. Olivia says, “I like not having a long break in between sports seasons…normal years are sometimes up to a month of break time.” Like Olivia, some student athletes thrive when they are put to a challenge. 

All in all, the big question is would this be beneficial to do again? I asked Olivia this very question and I was surprised by her response. She said, “Yes, I would totally do it again.” Hearing that someone came out of this unfamiliar experience with the attitude to do it all again is very promising. Subsequently I had to ask her if she would play basketball again, “I’m not sure if I would play basketball again, but I would love to try something else,” she says. Olivia wished that there were more options of what you could play. Coach Binette also shared these same thoughts. He said if fall 2 sports were to happen again he would make a change to, “offer a few more options… for more kids to try multiple sports.” Even with a majority of positive feedback, there’s still a lot of work both Ipswich and other towns would have to do in order for fall 2 to make a comeback, but it would be worth it!