Both Newmarket High School Varsity Soccer Teams Were Forced Forfeit Tourney Spots Over Mask Mandate
I can't imagine how frustrating and heartbreaking it is to be a student athlete right now and having either your entire season or the most vital parts of your season straight up cancelled because of the state of the world right now -- ESPECIALLY if you're a senior. I'd rather have my heart broken due to losing a championship game in my senior year than be heartbroken over never getting to play it in the first place.
The New Hampshire Union Leader is reporting that due to a mask mandate administered by the school, both the varsity boys' and girls' soccer teams at Newmarket High School were forced to forfeit their spots in tournaments that both teams were playing in. The mandate requires that not only are the Newmarket High student-athletes to wear a mask at all times while competing in games, but the opposing teams are required to, as well.
That's where the issue lies when it comes to the upcoming tourney games for both varsity soccer teams -- their opponents both refused to wear masks during gameplay. The boys' team was scheduled to play Portsmouth Christian Academy, while the girls' team was going head-to-head with Epping High School.
The captain for the boys' team told the Union Leader that he was hoping administration would change their mind on policy just for the tournament so they could still compete, even saying the team was willing to quarantine for two weeks after the game, but it was still a no-go. He also mentioned it was a bummer that other schools aren't willing to take the same safety precautions as them.
I totally understand where administration was coming from on this one -- Rockingham County has been pretty active with positive COVID cases, so it's all about safety for students, faculty, families, etc. At the same time, I feel like any team competing in the NHIAA as a whole should've all been on the same page. Either every single team be required to wear a mask or keep it optional, but have that be decided at the start of the season. If professional organizations (mainly the NHL and NBA, who went with the "bubble" feature) can come up with a plan for every single team in the league, other organizations should too, students or not.
What do you think? Should all teams be mandated to wear masks on the field? Should Newmarket administration made an exception for tournament play? Did this all play out how it should've?