ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The images and sounds of Friday Night Football are about to change.
“I think it will look very different,” said Lakory head coach Cory Moore.
Traditional signs of sportsmanship with handshakes and hugs will have to make way for elbow bumps and air high fives.
What you need to know
- Football practice for most of the Bay Area counties will return on June 15
- The return will be phased, starting with outdoor training
- Schools will take additional security measures to prevent the virus from spreading
- More High School Sports stories
And no common water coolers for the time being. No meeting in large groups. No groups.
“We are very curious to see what this will actually look like,” said Moore.
Counties across the Bay are preparing for a return to football. A phased return will begin shortly, starting with outdoor training.
“Many of these kids, football is their outlet,” said Moore. “I’m guessing they’re a bit confused now. They don’t really know what to prepare for.”
“It has definitely been a challenge,” said Jayson Roberts, head coach of Tampa Bay Tech. “The important thing is to open yourself up to anything and everything.”
Phase one: outdoor training. Stage two: a return to the weight room, with masks.
Kicking off in the fall? Coaches and officials aren’t sure, so they’re going to get ready just in case.
Preparing you with a renewed sense of appreciation for all that football offers.
“They will have an opportunity to see how much it is a blessing to us,” said Moore. “To be able to see each other. To be able to hug each other. To be able to shake hands. So now we are thankful for those little things that we sometimes forget about because of the pace of life.”
The coronavirus robbed us all. For athletes like Tampa Bay Tech’s Henry Hughes and Gregory Gaines, it has robbed them of real brotherhood.
“It’s like there’s a good atmosphere,” Hughes said. “We are teammates, but we see each other as brothers, so it just feels like family.”
“Everyone’s going to work ten times harder,” said Gaines. “They will want it more because they are going to show the world, precisely because this period is now happening, it will not stop us.”
The virus has paused the world and is forcing schools to implement security measures that teams must adapt to. But football fans hope it retains its core appeal.
“Hopefully, it’s still the sport we all love,” said Roberts. “When they whistle, the stands may look different, what we need to do to prepare for the game may look different. But hopefully the game will still be the same on Friday evening at 7:30 AM. “