Athletic community coming together to face COVID-19 challenges

Natalie Hilden, Perham Focus sports editor

I never would have imagined that I would be covering high school sports witnessing masked warm ups, no post game high fives or talking to coaches 6 feet apart.

But, the way the world looks right now is something that none of us expected to see in our lifetime. Especially to see for this long. But, after spending time covering Perham and Wadena sports these last few weeks it has been a blessing to see the incredible scheduling efforts, coaching moments and moments of overcoming that have happened despite the unideal COVID-19 circumstances.

Schools around the region have been transferring back to distance learning and with that comes a strong amount of athletic uncertainty. With positive cases, new guidelines and athletes being quarantined due to contact tracing there is no doubt that programs around the state have faced their fair share of adversity.

Schedules that change daily, losing key players to wearing masks and following new guidelines athletes, coaches and administrators have done a great job with using this experience and making the best with what it may bring.

One commonality that I have heard from a number of coaches is that they have been approaching sports during COVID-19 with a sense of “play like it is your last opportunity.” It is so refreshing to see such a positive outlook from athletic programs even when they are staring uncertainly in the face.


That outlook is one that will affect students for the rest of their life. It is a valuable lesson that this is all bringing about even though it is a difficult one. I hope that these circumstances allow student athletes to realize all of the things they love about their sports and for coaches to find meaningful moments of passion even through all of the chaos.

I have to point out the fact that parents have been really making sacrifices as well to keep athletic programs afloat. Obviously, not everyone is perfect, but from being masked up every game to keeping seating requirements in the gym to driving athletes to away games, it is incredible to watch a community come together.

It is all for the good of each other and that is an attitude that we all need a little more of right now.

Natalie Hilden is the Sports Editor at the Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal. Hilden graduated from South Dakota State University in May of 2020. She came back to Northern Minnesota the place she has called home since she graduated from Nevis High School in 2017.
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