As local high school sports return most bleacher sections will be empty but Arlington High School’s volleyball team will have cutouts ready for their games.
It’s been almost a year since WESCO Athletics held games or matches for any school sports, however directors recently approved the return of sports competitions.
Practice began Feb. 22 for football, cross country, girls swim and dive, volleyball, boys tennis and girls soccer. Matches we slated to begin March 1.
Some school groups such as band and cheerleaders will be allowed at the games, but other spectators will not at this time.
"We are beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to play volleyball this spring,” said Lauren Amundson, coach of the Arlington High School volleyball team. “While it may look different, we are choosing to focus on the positives and providing opportunities to play while keeping everyone safe."
Because of the lack of spectators, local parents got together to find ways to still show their support.
“WESCO made a decision that there would be no spectators,” said Kelly Pederson, a local parent and member of the Arlington High School Booster Club. “As a result a couple of the parents came together and thought ‘well, what can we do to brighten up this weirdness.'"
Pederson said they got the idea of providing fan cutouts that could be put up in the stands.
“There was a lot of professional sports teams already using these cutouts, so we thought ‘why not us,’” she said.
Amundson said she was glad supporters will still have some presence at the matches.
“We will sincerely miss having our friends, families and fans in the stands but look forward to seeing their smiling faces on big fan cutouts,” she said. “This is a fun way to keep them connected and ‘present’ in a unique year."
The booster club worked with a company in Texas to order the cutouts. They’ve sent in the order and Pederson said the hope is that they will arrive by the first volleyball match on March 3.
“We’ll set all the cutouts where people are normally standing at the games,” said Pederson. “It feels like we’ve got a lot of good feedback and many people have already ordered."
Pederson, who is a parent of one of the volleyball players, said they are excited for the cutouts.
“They think it’s going to be fun. They didn’t think it was going to be dorky, and I had to ask because sometimes as adults we come up with ideas that teenagers don’t end up liking,” she said.
Arlington High School students are planning to broadcast local sports game for those who still want to watch them live.
“We are also very thankful to the AHS Journalism program, which will be live-streaming our matches on Eagle News Media," said Amundson.