HISD reinstates all JV sports seasons


Photo provided by Hayden Musser

The JV boys soccer team at LeRoy Crump Stadium after a game against Elsik during preseason.

Ricky Kai, Features Editor

On Jan. 21, 2021, the Houston Independent School District reversed their decision to suspend all non-varsity athletic events. The change has been effective since Jan. 25.

HISD made their initial decision to stop middle school, junior varsity and freshman activities because of a spike of COVID-19 cases in Harris County. However, the UIL Athletic Activities Department had been monitoring public health situations and decided against their previous resolution. 

Now, freshman and junior varsity athletes can look forward to the season in front of them. Freshman Hayden Musser wants to achieve the most with his boys junior varsity soccer team in the situation he was given. 

My hope for this season is to remain undefeated,” Musser said. “We are 2-0 so far because we played a few games in preseason tournaments before the first HISD decision.”

When HISD suspended the majority of athletics activities on Jan. 12, athletes learned about this news through Remind messages, emails and Teams chats. Even before the decision was finalized, news of the meeting made Musser anxious about their upcoming season. 

“When I first heard the news, I didn’t know what to think,” Musser said. “I play club soccer so at least I could still practice, but this was my freshman year and I felt like I had so much energy that I couldn’t spend on the playing field for Bellaire.”

With his season canceled until future notice, Musser did not expect the quick turn of events. When his coach updated the team on the recent news, he was more surprised than excited. 

“I was mostly shocked because Coach Rodgers, the varsity coach, didn’t seem too optimistic about the chances of our season returning,” Musser said. “Supposedly, our games are late in February, so that could be a blessing in disguise for us to get better in the meantime.”

For sophomore Callie Nichols, playing on the girls junior varsity basketball team has never been so different. 

“This year, the JV and freshman teams are closer in the sense that we interact with each other more because basketball was one thing we all had in this pandemic,” Nichols said. “We also worked more as a whole team instead of two separate ones.” 

When Nichols heard the HISD decision to suspend her season, her initial thoughts made her realize the importance of high school basketball in her everyday life.

“When I heard about HISD cancelling the season, I was devastated,” Nichols said. “It seemed so unreal that what I put most of my time into was no longer going to be happening. My first thought was ‘What am I going to do after school?’”

For athletes like Nichols, the risk of playing with the possibility of contracting the virus is a large conflict to face. To play during the pandemic and risk their health, or to cancel their season and watch from the sidelines.

“When I heard that HISD was reinstating the season, I felt conflicted because COVID cases didn’t seem any better from when they canceled it,” Nichols said. “But I was ready to get back into the gym.”

Reflecting on these sudden changes in his first year of high school, Musser stayed positive amidst the pandemic.

“There is no point in overthinking everything, but I am very hopeful for what our team can accomplish,” Musser said. “This decision has taught me not to take things for granted. For now, the season is on, and all I can do is play it to my full potential.”

For Nichols, these decisions have made the pandemic feel closer to home and have given her more drive to become a better individual player and teammate. While she said she is wary of COVID-19 cases increasing again, she said she can only hope. 

“I have more motivation because you never know if they will cancel the season again or not. The season being canceled for a little while made me realize how important it was to push myself every practice because during this time,” Nichols said.

“Everything is so uncertain,” she added.