The New Normal for Nelson


Photo by Saanya Zaidi

Senior Kate Nelson passes the ball to a teammate in a game against Marian High School.

Senior Kate Nelson surveys the field as her fellow Mercy Field Hockey teammates run down the field. A focused look is on Nelson’s face as she searches for the small white ball on the field while her team is competing in a shootout against Father Gabriel Richard Catholic High School. An eruption of joy comes from the team; they had just beat Father Gabriel Richard in the first round of the playoffs.

“That’s definitely one of my favorite memories so far from playing with Mercy,” said Nelson. 

Nelson has been on Mercy’s Field hockey team since freshman year and joined as an opportunity to meet new students before the school year started. While the past three seasons might come together as a blur for Nelson, this year is different because of the pandemic.

The pandemic has had an impact on high school sports for everyone, as it has made administrators make several rule changes for the upcoming season. While some fall sports have not been affected by the rule changes, like cross country, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) has implemented rules in field hockey that have altered the sport. This is due to the close interaction and physical contact among players and opponents during the game. 

“This season is very different from past seasons because we have to wear a mask at all times,” said Nelson.  “We can only have two spectators per player, we have to get our temperature checked before games and fill out Covid symptom trackers before every practice or game.”

Unfortunately Covid did not only alter the way the game was played for Nelson.

“I was looking forward to getting to know the new team and having a good season,” said Nelson. “Covid definitely changed this a lot. However, I feel that as a team we have made the best out of the entire situation and are learning to enjoy the new normal.”

Despite the new circumstances that Nelson and her teammates have to play in, her takeaways from the game have still stayed the same. 

I would say my biggest takeaway from field hockey is what I have learned about working towards a goal,” said Nelson. “It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to win a game, and field hockey has definitely taught me that if I want to achieve something, whether it is on or off the field, I have to put in a lot of time and effort.”