Westside Football Tackles Practices with COVID-19 Precautions


Mina Testolin

Westside football players wear masks during practices and games to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Westside has continued to offer sports such as football and other extracurricular activities for students to be a part of. Obviously, changes needed to be made in order for a football season to be held. These changes include four fans per player allowed to spectate during varsity football games, and players are required to wear masks during practices along with social distancing when appropriate. 

Freshman Paul Fiamaple explained the precautions that are being taken to ensure safety during practice. 

“There’s a lot of things that we have to do,” Fiamaple said. “We want to prevent the football team from, like, ever getting COVID, because if one of us gets COVID, then the whole program gets shut down. Then we won’t be able to have games.”

Though Fiamaple knows the precautions are part of the game, he said he isn’t so keen on wearing protective gear. 

“I don’t really like wearing a mask during practice because, like, it’s just hard to breathe sometimes because of the mask, like, even when we’re doing light conditioning,” Fiamaple said. “It’s just hard to do everything.” 

Senior Raoul Kolani has played football his entire high school career and feels the changes are important and the only way football can continue safely. 

“We want a season,” Kolani said. “Without these protocols [wearing a mask, social distancing], without following these requirements, we wouldn’t have a season. Other schools are not even playing in Omaha, and I’m very grateful that we at least have the chance to play.” 

Kolani also spoke about his willingness to play despite the current circumstances.

“I don’t mind [wearing a mask] ‘cause I love football, [so] I am willing to wear a mask to play,” Kolani said. “You’ve got to sacrifice to play. It is a sport where we do have contact, so I understand that, I just wish we had more people in the stands.” 

Fiamaple said he hopes football can continue, especially for younger players. 

“We’re just trying to prevent the whole team from getting Corona,” Fiamaple said. “That would suck because for the freshmen, it’s the first year of high school football, so that’s a really big deal. And for the seniors, if they get shut down, then that’s it for them. It’s a really difficult process. We’ve never done this before, and it’s new for all of us.”