By Jesus Coronel
Riverside City College sports are returning to a normal schedule starting Aug. 26.
Athletes will be pleased to know that they can finally play sports in-person once again, enjoy their love for the game and work toward an opportunity to play at a four-year university.
RCC Athletic Director Payton Williams, in an email, said that he is “extremely excited for the opportunity to have our student athletes back to doing what they do best, competing with passion and transferring to the institutions of their choice.”
Hailey Gray, a sophomore volleyball player, is “very excited and ready” to compete once again.
“I have missed playing volleyball so much,” she said. “I will feel like myself again.”
Gabriel Hill, a freshman football player, expresses equal confidence on getting back on the field.
“I think we’re taking the right steps in order to be safe,” he said. “We continue to be in pods or groups in order to avoid a spread in case there is a positive case.”
With the rise of the delta variant, many major sports leagues, such as the National Football League and Major League Baseball, are mandating players to get the vaccine to ensure safety. Other guidelines such as wearing masks at the venues are also to be followed.
The Riverside Community College District has enacted similar guidelines to ensure the safety of their student athletes and fans after the Board of Trustees passed a vaccine and mask mandate Aug. 10.
“Based on District policy, fans may only attend in person if they provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination and they must wear a mask at all times,” Williams states. “Home football games will be live streamed via Riverside TV on YouTube.”
Hill elaborated that, due to his heart condition, he feels uncomfortable with the vaccine mandate.
“I wouldn’t be allowed to play for the team if I don’t get the vaccine,” he said. “It’s not recommended if you have food or medical allergies, which I have both. My heart condition makes it complicated on my part as well.”
For Gray, she knows that she has to follow the vaccine mandate in order to keep her season running smoothly.
“We plan on following it to the best of our ability to keep our season,” Gray said. “It’s been very hard for us because we haven’t played in a year and a half, so we are just wanting to be back on the court.”
The first event in the fall semester will be a football game at San Diego Mesa on Aug. 26.