Having fall sports start and play out this fall rely a lot on the members involved doing their part to keep themselves and others safe, while teams and schools put into place and practice safety measures during practices and competitions.
No one knows and understands that more than Culbertson Public Schools Activities Director David Solem.
As the athletic director, he has had his hands full managing and scheduling sports in a time where two teams meeting to play in a crowded arena around them is not so simple or even allowed at times.
He said one thing he had to work on for scheduling was the absence of volleyball jamborees, something a lot of schools have to go without this fall volleyball season. Since most schools are in the same boat, though, it has not been that bad, he said.
Solem knows how important sports are, and he wants to see the fall seasons play out in their entirety, he said.
“I think we’re all just happy to be having athletics and it’s been OK,” Solem said.
Along with making sure everyone practices safe measures to keep the fall seasons on track, Solem believes everyone has learned to truly appreciate what they have.
He said that after seeing sports get cancelled in the spring, and now seeing them come back under restrictions and guidelines has given everyone that lesson.
“Well it’s definitely taught coaches and athletes never to take anything for granted, that they should value the time that they have. Everybody just has a greater appreciation of athletics,” Solem said.
He added that everyone has realized even more how important sports are to the kids who participate in them. One thing that may have contributed to this general feeling throughout the country was the cancellation of sports in the spring, since high school and college seniors lost out on their final seasons of (possibly) their careers.
Overall, Solem and Culbertson are ready for the fall sports to start.
“I think everybody is very excited to be back competing. I’m noticing in the first three days of school here kids are excited to be back at school, and everybody is just excited to be doing sports again. It’s made the transition to wearing masks for our students, which we thought was going to be a nightmare, the kids have been very good wearing their face masks because they know it can all be taken away again,” he said.