Every aspect of life has changed because of COVID-19, specifically, sports are completely different from what they were before. Woodland teacher, Nancy Manning, is not only known for her interesting English classes; she is widely known for her enthusiasm for sports. At many football games, you can find her screaming and cheering in the crowd: even getting kicked out for cheering too loud sometimes. You can also find her repping her favorite football team, the New York Giants. But COVID-19 regulations have restricted sporting events and have made it hard for her to cheer on her students. Momma Manning isn’t Momma Manning without sports.
“I like all sports. I love watching football. I love watching basketball,” said Manning, “When I watch track, ‘I’m like, Oh, I wish I could run that fast. I wish I could hurdle, just like them.’”
Manning plays and coaches tennis, and she was once a student-athlete, so she knows what it’s like to play sports. Experiencing the wins, the losses, cheering of the crowd, the adrenaline rush- all of these things are missed by athletes.
“It’s the set of unprecedented times and we just have to work with it, even though we’re not happy that it exists.”
Sports allow students to escape all the stresses of their daily life and go have fun. Having that taken away is upsetting, especially for many seniors. Last year, Manning would talk to her students about not being able to participate in sports, and many would explain how safety is more important.
“I would say yeah, I would agree with them, safety first. But I just feel bad. There were so many seniors who couldn’t participate their senior year in that activity. For some of them, this was their only sport, their only activity. Their senior nights were canceled. The banquets were canceled. That’s tough.”
This year, not all sports were canceled, allowing many students and seniors to participate in sports. Even though Momma Manning cannot attend many of these sports events in person, she likes to watch the live-streamed broadcasts.
“If I’m home, or if I’m doing an activity that I cannot attend the actual event in person, I do use the live stream. I did that a lot for the away games because the NVL teams weren’t allowing spectators from the visiting teams. So I watched the games online. We had great film crews; Dr. Mulligan did a lot of the taping of this of the boy’s soccer games. And she got even better at commentating on what was going on. I really appreciated that.”
Live streaming events have benefitted many parents, teachers and even grandparents. But live-streaming does not change the fact that athletes have to wear masks.
Playing sports with masks and a limited crowd may be unbearable, but it is doable. No matter what, Manning still continues to inspire her students to do their best while playing their sport.
“It’s a metaphor for life that you go out there; you give your best,” says Momma Manning, “ you try really hard and you try to achieve.”