Football, Cheer, and Marching Band in a COVID World


Karis Cho, Staff Writer

     The excitement of Friday night football games, the joyful music of the marching band, and the lively cheerleading performances are the hallmarks of fall for many students at Tenafly High School. COVID-19, however, has been a major adversary throughout the course of this year, and proves to be an obvious impediment to these particular sports. In these troubling times, it has been imperative to find a sense of normalcy, and these sports are an integral part of keeping school spirit high.

     The football season has kicked off with a great start. After a strong first scrimmage of the school year on September 24th against Bergen Tech, Tenafly has had two games and their conditioning has paid off. Tenafly won 27-0 at Sasso Field in Fair Lawn for its opening game, passing its first Ivy division test. Tenafly continued its fast start with a 41-0 win against Indian Hills High School last Friday. Their next game is this Friday October 16, against Dwight Morrow at Tenafly High Schools’ Geissinger Field where the Tigers hope to continue their winning streak.  

     As they enter this new season, seniors at Tenafly High School have an influx of emotions pouring over them, as this might not have been the year they envisioned. “I’m kind of excited but I’m kind of sad too because it won’t be as fun,” Cheer Captain Margot Bogosian (‘21) said.  “Usually a ton of kids come to the games but now no one can really come, plus it’s mostly family members.I’m excited we at least have a season. I’m teaching the dance to the freshman that I did as a freshman, so it’s just sad since it’s coming to a full circle.” Although these circumstances proved to be melancholy, “…it’s a small disappointment in the large scale of my senior year. I’m thankful that we even have a season,” low brass section leader Michelle Lee (’21) said.

     Numerous qualms and worries also circulated through the air. “I would be lying if I said I felt 100% comfortable as a band,” Lee said. “What can you expect when 50 kids are literally blowing air through instruments during a pandemic of a respiratory disease? If I’m being completely honest, cancelling the season completely minimizes the risk of any of our band members getting sick; this is a fact.”

     This year has definitely posed a couple of challenges and has especially taken a toll on the coaches. “I’m a big planner and you can’t plan in the world we live in right now. I’ve been trying really hard over the past few years to get into a good routine so we could all know what to expect and everyone could be as prepared as possible to do well during the season,” Tenafly High School Cheer Coach Stivers expressed. “We weren’t able to implement those strategies at this time, so having to turn around and switch things quickly has been something that is probably the most challenging.” 

     Although there has been many downsides, fall sports are still going on at a good pace. “I think as long as the fall season continues and we stay outdoors, we’re doing well with maintaining safety precautions and distancing,” Coach Stivers said. Students have also been putting in a good effort as well, especially in the marching band. “The staff and section leaders have made a great effort to try to enforce social distancing and minimize the risk of spreading,” Lee brings up. “Things like creating stocking filters on the bells of our instruments and making us do the COVID form before every practice definitely help.”

     “Everything is interconnected; if people really want to make this season work, they better be taking this virus seriously, especially now that flu season is imminent,” Lee said, further emphasizing the importance of working together. “The thing is, marching band season is dependent on football. If one of the football players gets sick and the team isn’t allowed to play, the band doesn’t have a game to go play at. We’ll only have a season if we all cooperate.”  

     During these unprecedented times, it’s imperative that students all follow the precautions put in place to put in our best efforts to be safe. If we all stay vigilant and work together this season can still continue.“I think it definitely took a bit of practice and a little bit of training our mindsets to think positively to make the best of the situation. Now that we’re here, it’s going okay and it’s great to be able to be together,” Stivers said. Let’s be in high spirits for the football game this Friday, and remember to stay positive.