by Grace Fiorella, Staff Writer, November 2020
It’s 7:45 a.m. on a Saturday and, instead of sleeping in until the bus arrives at 12:00 p.m., I am already jogging around the Castle field warming up for my game. I look around me to see my teammates splitting into two different teams, getting ready to play a full 80-minute soccer game.
On September 26 and October 3, varsity sports participated in intrasquad scrimmages on campus. For soccer, masks were required at all times, aside from quarter and halftime breaks. Contact was allowed to be made during the games. The rules reflected those of a normal game and made the scrimmages seem fun and realistic despite the restrictions.
However, it did not have the same feel as a regular game. It is difficult to replicate game day traditions with all the COVID regulations. Before every game, the soccer team would enter the locker room and listen to our pump-up playlist, belting “Defying Gravity” at the top of our lungs. Following that, we would walk onto the field, holding hands with our partners and warm up. Now, with the pandemic restrictions, it feels like something is missing.
With the intrasquad scrimmages, our team tried to keep it as competitive as possible. However, it was hard to be completely focused on competing without our normal end goals, like winning both ISL and NEPSAC titles. It was also weird playing against the teammates I would normally be playing with.
But the intrasquad scrimmages were helpful because playing against each other allowed us to gain a new perspective on our strengths and weaknesses. We discerned what we needed to work on individually and as a team during practice, so it would be fixed by the time we got to scrimmage other teams.
I really enjoyed the intrasquad scrimmages despite COVID challenges because they were the first time since the last soccer season that I got to play in a realistic game. Fall is my favorite season of the year because being a part of Nobles Girl Varsity Soccer (NGVS) is so fun. I had not played a soccer game since our playoff game last year, so I was eager to play, even in a mock game. I was so worried we would not even have the opportunity to practice, let alone participate in intrasquad scrimmages..
It felt even better to begin the real school vs. school season. Starting October 16, Nobles varsity teams could start scrimmaging Belmont Hill School, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, The Rivers School, St. Sebastian’s School, and Thayer Academy. JV teams could start scrimmaging the same ISL schools the following week on October 23.
For soccer, the scrimmages had different rules because we followed The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) regulations. Instead of throw-ins, we did kick-ins, all free kicks or corner kicks were indirect, headers were not allowed, and there was minimal or non-intentional contact. The rules were a bit of an adjustment, but I preferred to follow the stricter rules so that we could compete against other teams instead of following normal rules and only participating in intrasquad scrimmages.
It was awesome to be back on the field with a starting line-up and be able to compete against different ISL schools. The scrimmages almost had the same feeling as a regular-season game with the cheering and encouragement from teammates and the teamwork to put the ball in the net.
Although we were still not able to do any of the normal pre-game rituals, I am so grateful that we had the opportunity to participate in these scrimmages against the ISL schools. It was the most amazing feeling to put back on the Nobles uniform and compete to win for the seniors that have put so much love and effort into the team, as well as the school.