Playing it safe

IM and Club sports talk about their health plans

The dance team practices at the Rec Center in masks. All members are temperature screened upon arrival and are socially distanced by red spots on the floor. Photo by: Madison Kettlewell | Torch Photo

With club sports taking place once again, Ferris State Club sports are enforcing safety measures more than ever now. 

Club sports at Ferris created an official, “Return to Play” document for their respective club sports to safely resume play. This document entails all the steps and procedures that would allow a club sport to resume practices for the time being until more competitive natures can take place in the spring semester. 

Associate Director of Competitive Sports and Facilities as Ferris, Stoney Hart said that his staff has learned and adapted to the challenges of getting sports to start with practices.  

“We are already so involved in what we are doing, now that teams are responding and getting things going, we’ve already got the ball rolling in this direction,” Hart said. “Everybody when they came back expected everything to be the same way that it’s always been and to hit that wall to start with was tough but it’s been working and each of the clubs thing have gotten better and smoother.” 

Club sports that turn in their “Return to play” document are able to begin their practice sessions. According to the President of Club sports, Alyxandra Wesley all clubs that wish to practice, compete, or engage in their sport must turn in a “Return to play” document. Members of club sports must wear a mask during meeting times and practices and are required to do their daily symptom checker. Club sports also have their own contact tracer that they created to ensure safety in case of an outbreak. 

“We definitely pushed allowing to practice because if we weren’t allowed to practice and get together we were worried about clubs disappearing or clubs not having team members next year, so we did push for practices at least because we don’t want to lose all our clubs,” Wesley said. “We gave out the set guidelines of what we were expecting from all the clubs but then when each club comes to us its more of an individual basis because each club is different and each clubs social distancing and contact all around is different.” 

Golf has been allowed to do more individual tournaments with competition because it’s more individualized than most sports. The club sports that are only practicing right now are disc golf, figure skating, the equestrian team, and the dance team. For the intramural side of things sand volleyball, kickball, cornhole, and esports such as a madden tournament and fantasy football have also been available.  

Supervisor of intramural sports Veronica Mills said that she is glad to still have a job and happy to have sports outside because of the nice weather so far which has helped get people outside of the house and off the computer screens after long days on Zoom calls.  

“I think the students are happy that they have some club sports and intramurals that they can participate in,” Mills said. “Most players are understanding with the rules, when it comes to masks and it’s not a big deal because they would rather be able to play with a mask on than not play at all.” 

Of course, like everything else the intramural sports and club sports have dealt with challenges, but Hart said that they have been able to work through them. The biggest challenge has been teams getting back to play and of course dealing with the mask issue. Intramural official Gary Maudie said that wearing a mask personally has been no issue but after a while it makes him frustrated at times to wear one since they are outside. For the students, Maudie said they usually just have to explain why it’s important to wear the mask and the students understand most of the time.  

“It’s disappointing during this time. I feel like we could do our regular IM sports this semester knowing that high schools are having contact sports and Ferris is having in-person classes, but it is what it is,” Maudie said. “Our only new habit this semester is enforcing students to wear masks while they play.” 

While the hope of the spring semester is to allow for more actions and competition everyone is more focused on staying safe and doing whatever it takes to make sure that practices are safe and that students and workers are too. Hart said they implemented this plan as a low-risk, high-risk to get the push for teams to practice.  

“It’s really just a matter of time for the rest of the clubs that haven’t gotten their return to plays back to start that process of doing that so we can see where things lead heading into the spring semester side of things,” Hart said.  

With fears always being present that it may not be safe to play sports during the pandemic, Wesley reassured that the institution was doing everything they could to continue to safe playing environment.

“We are doing our best, we have supervisors there to make sure and we have the return to play documents stating they are following CDC guidelines and Ferris guidelines with wearing masks and everything else.”  Wesley said.