The state-mandated postponement of football and competitive cheer from the fall to a new “floating season” starting in late February is a big disappointment to Bedford High School coaches and student-athletes.
But their attitude is upbeat as they focus on a new destination.
“This was definitely the right thing to do with such uncertainty,” said Head Football Coach Tom Tone. “But there are also a lot of positive things we can do over the next couple of months.”
“The plan they rolled out has some good things there. Right after February vacation through late April is kind of neat,” Tone observed. “It will be one of the only sports going, and throughout the fall we are going to be able to practice as a team.”
The cheerleaders, said second-year Coach Kasie Costopulos, will spend the fall staying in shape. Regarding off-season workouts, “we are still waiting to hear what will be allowed, if we can we practice at a safe distance outside.”
Meanwhile, the cheerleaders have been engaged in some voluntary virtual workouts. Costopulos emphasized that what happens this fall “is more about keeping together and growing as a team, even if we are sitting six feet apart and stretching and working out. It’s mostly about the family and community that our team has.”
“It’s not the end of the world for me — I haven’t had a fall off in 20 years. But being a high school kid right now is just demoralizing,” Tone said. “My message to the kids is we can waste a lot of time and energy complaining about it or we can say, ‘What else can we do with this?’”
“For us, the safety of our cheerleaders is the most important aspect,” Costopulos said. If we do stunting, it’s impossible without being face to face and being close.
Senior Buccaneers echoed the football coach’s positivity. “Any senior waits for senior season,” said lineman Gustavo Coto. “So we will be preparing for what will come in February. We will be putting in the work, getting bigger, stronger, faster.”
“We will have practices Mondays and Wednesdays. We will keep lifting, keep in shape, trying to keep our hopes up and keep the team together,” said linebacker Zackery Poor. “We will just keep everyone going and hope we can have a season.”
“College football generally has spring football; it’s basically practice,” the coach noted. “This is kind of like that in reverse. We won’t be preparing for games, but within the guidelines there is all kind of stuff we can do keeping the kids together and getting them better, individually and as a team.”
The “floating season” will also provide plenty of time to learn from the experience of the non-contact sports in fall and winter, he added. Costopulos agreed. “The fall is like a trial run – hopefully most of the kinks will be figured out.”
As far as participating in competitions next March and April, if available, the coach said she is leaving it up to her cheerleaders. They may prefer to focus on game cheering, which was the case in the fall of 2019.
“One thing I really hope is that at some point we are going to get confirmation that it (the floating season) is real,” Tone said. “I would like more information on what needs to change between now and February. I understand that a lot of people are making these decisions, but now we are lauding Massachusetts for having low (virus) numbers. What’s the goal here?”
Tone also begins his Bedford High School teaching career this fall in the mathematics department, once the home of one of his predecessors, Armand Sabourin. Tone taught at Methuen High for 14 years. “It’s a great thing to see your athletes also as students. It creates a lot of positive energy,” he remarked. Costopulos is a history teacher at BHS.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com, or 781-983-1763
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