WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started, fans could sit in the bleachers at an indoor sporting event on Tuesday.
25 fans were allowed inside the gymnasium at Wilmington Christian Academy (WCA)to watch the Patriots girls' volleyball team battle Berean Baptist Academy.
“There’s something about the emotion,” said WCA parent Drew Hodge. “The kids need it, the parents need it, the country needs it. It’s amazing.”
“With parents here cheering, it means so much for us,” added WCA senior Kyra Rickard. We notice it in the games."
Even though fans did return, it still wasn’t the same.
“It still feels pretty bizarre, I have to be honest,” said WCA parent Wes Rickard. “We are moving in the right direction. I feel like we’re taking small steps, getting back to normal.”
Playing games without parents hasn’t been easy and Patriots head coach Jenny Tyrpak says they have made a difficult situation easier to deal with.
“They been super supportive and understanding,” said Tyrpak. “We’ve tried to stay in constant communication with them about any changes and any opportunities they may have to come in the gym.”
But before fans could enter the gym, spectators had their temperatures taken and were screened for COVID symptoms.
“I feel like the school has put in a lot of effort in keeping us safe,” said WCA parent Amy Todd. “Keeping the parents and the kids safe. I think they’ve been working hard to get us where we are right now.”
In addition to playing the game, the players also must take extra safety precautions.
“We have to sanitize the balls,” said Rickard. “We sanitize the chairs. We get all the nets up. Between every couple of rallies, we are sanitizing the balls.”