The stereo was cranked within the Forest Lake wrestling room on Monday, Jan. 4, and heavy metallic music was pumping via the audio system to assist the Ranger wrestlers get energized for his or her first follow of the season.
Abruptly, AC/DC’s rock anthem “Again in Black” began blaring.
How applicable, as a result of that was the day winter sports activities groups from Forest Lake and across the state had been allowed to follow collectively for the primary time.
“We’re simply able to follow – and excited that we’re going to have a season,” wrestling coach Joe Kunshier mentioned. “The children are excited that we get an opportunity to roll and see what occurs.”
Highschool groups in all winter sports activities – basketball, dance, gymnastics, hockey, boys swimming and diving, Nordic and Alpine snowboarding, and wrestling – noticed the beginning of their season delayed in late November, when Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz put a one-month pause on novice sports activities practices and video games across the state.
On Dec. 16, Walz lifted the ban, and shortly after the Minnesota State Excessive College League introduced that in-person practices for winter sports activities and actions might start on Monday, Jan. 4. Not too long ago the MSHSL introduced that video games might be performed as quickly as Thursday, Jan. 14, for all sports activities besides gymnastics, which can start on Thursday, Jan. 21.
Consequently, coaches corresponding to Forest Lake women basketball coach Jen Wagner had been excited to get the prospect to carry their groups collectively for the primary time this season on Monday.
“As a instructor, it’s energizing simply to see youngsters in a Google Meet, so to truly have them within the fitness center and doing one thing they love is basically, actually thrilling,” she mentioned. “It’s going to be completely different, however the pleasure is identical.”
One distinction brought on by the delayed begin is a compressed follow schedule.
“We plan to compete on Jan. 14, and that date goes to return rapidly,” Kunshier mentioned. “We normally have two full weeks of practices, but it surely’s going to be completely different getting the children on the mat and ready for the season. However the youngsters are prepared to do no matter it takes to maintain everybody wholesome and secure.”
One change Wagner mentioned her crew continues to be adjusting to is enjoying with masks on.
“After we do drills to start out, we’re not going to have the ability to ‘hop in’ and do issues the best way we at all times have,” she mentioned. “We simply have to ensure we hearken to our athletes and their our bodies.
“It’s going to be a special look, that’s for certain. However we’ll take a special look to our season over no season in any respect.”