Homecoming is Cancelled, But Activity Days Are On!
With COVID-19 as the main concern, the Hopkins Athletics department, including coaches, advisors, trainers, and players, adapted to the new normal of sports seasons with no games or ability to compete for a championship.
In the beginning of the fall season, following guidelines from the Athletics department, coaches strictly limited the intensity of practices, use of equipment, and amount of people in attendance. Field Hockey Coach Jen Morgan said, “Before school started we had no idea what the season would look like. We had two cohorts of students of all different playing levels, alternating the weeks they were on campus. This is in combination with the phase 1 guidelines: masks must always be worn; players must remain at least 6 feet apart at all times, minimal conditioning, players cannot touch equipment and many more necessary restrictions, which led us to have a slow start to our fall season.”
As the season progressed, the Athletics Department allowed varsity athletes from both Maroon and Grey cohorts to attend practice. Although all varsity athletes are allowed to go to practice each week, many students, especially underclassmen, can’t come to campus because they have class and can’t get a ride. In order to increase school spirit and get full team participation, the Hopkins Athletics Department allowed for a series of intrasquad scrimmages for varsity athletes on October 24 and October 31.
Athletic Director Rocco DeMaio explained the idea behind the full-team activity days: “Since some student-athletes can’t make it to the other cohort’s practice, they don’t even know the other kids in their grade who play field hockey, for example. The idea behind the full-team activity days is for those students who don’t get to practice or participate with the other group. Now, they can spend two full days bonding with
their teammates, playing their sport, and showcasing their school spirit.”
Each team has a different time slot to safely allow everyone to come to campus and social distance. Assistant Athletic Director Christina Balsamo said, “We’re going to leave everything up to the coaches. They can decide if they want to scrimmage or just have practice, but they have to follow the safety protocols.” Girls Soccer player Jenny Alaska ’22 commented, “I’m so excited to finally be able to scrimmage. Last week was the first time we were able to play 4v4, but I’m so happy that we can play a full scrimmage with 11v11.” Girls Field Hockey and Boys Soccer are having intrasquad scrimmages. Morgan commented, “I can’t wait for a very fun competitive match for the Maroon and Grey cohorts. We are also planning on taking full team photos which is awesome.” Head Football Coach Tim Phipps explained, “I’m very excited that our whole team can compete on the last two Saturdays of the season to crown a champion [for the season].”
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and the FAA and MIFL’s cancellation of competition, Hopkins is unable to host Homecoming this year, which is the biggest athletics event of the fall. Unlike a normal year, students, alumni, and parents won’t be able to come to Hopkins to eat and raise money at the Pancake Breakfast, watch seven hours of athletic games, and dance the whole night.
Hopkins students are disappointed about the cancellation. Addie Priest ’21 explained, “I’m really bummed out that we can’t have Homecoming this year. The day is full of fun activities where everyone can bond and cheer each other on. It is always the highlight of my fall at Hopkins.” Jasmine Simmons ’21 said, “Homecoming is always one of my favorite events of the year. For the past few years I’ve served at the pancake breakfast which has been really fun and a great bonding experience with my teammates. It’s disappointing that it won’t be the same this year but I’m so grateful we get to spend time together at all!”
Despite the fact that Hopkins is unable to host a Homecoming, the normal festivities during the week leading up to the event carried on. Student Council organized Spirit Week for both cohorts, and all teams filmed Homecoming skits that were shown during Virtual Assembly. Even though Homecoming is not happening this year, Yahn Galinovsky ’21, encouraged everyone to scream as loud as possible at their scrimmages just as if they were at Homecoming: “If your voice isn’t dead after screaming and cheering on your teammates, then you have to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself one thing: Do you think Dr. Bynum would’ve wanted that?”
Many Hopkins students are excited for the full-team activity days despite the news of the cancellation of Homecoming. Sydney Matthews ’23 said, “I haven’t been able to go to a lot of the practices because I have class, but this idea sounds so fun! I’m disappointed we can’t have Homecoming this year because I’ve been going to Hopkins Homecomings for so many years with my mom since she’s an alumna, and I’m disappointed we can’t continue our streak, but I definitely understand why.” Tanner Lee ’23 felt the same way: “I’m obviously upset that we won’t be able to play games in a Homecoming setting, but I’m so excited that Hopkins is doing their own thing and that the cohorts can come together to play.”