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Hart family embraces return to sports in schools


Spencer Hart has been a football enthusiast since he was a toddler, and he’s played in some capacity since the age of four. He’s just about to enter high school, and he’s excited to play for the Mayfield Trojans.

Amid COVID-19, sports practicing is starting to gear up for the fall, but it looks different than it has in years past.

The Bulletin reached out to Spencer Hart and his mother, Tai Gutierrez-Hart, for their feelings and thoughts as the new normal begins to emerge.

Bulletin: How do you feel about the district’s timing and protocols?

Tai: I think it is safe to say everyone can agree it is a bit strange to have a plan in place for a first phase of school athletics, prior to knowing or having a plan in place for the next school year in general. But with all the planning and precautions being put into place, I think the timing is right. The coaches are going through trainings on how to comply with the regulations, and prior to our first practice, we have a meeting set up to further discuss and make sure all the student athletes know what is required and expected of them. 

Bulletin: Are you excited to get back into practicing and playing?

Spencer: Yes, because it’s been months without practicing any sports. I’m really ready to get back to being active.

Bulletin: Do you have any reservations about letting Spencer practice and/or play?

Tai: Right now, I don’t have reservations with the Phase 1 guidelines. The plan really minimizes exposure with the staff being tested, player and coach screenings, low player-to-coach ratios and distance requirements. 

Bulletin: Will you take additional precautions? If so, please specify.

Tai: Constant reminders to the student athletes are essential. We have, and will continue, to remind Spencer how important it is to keep distancing, sanitizing and not sharing. Outside of practice, we’ll continue to do our part as a family to limit exposure by not traveling and practice social distancing.

Bulletin: What are your feelings about the district’s protocols? Do they go far enough? Too far? Why?

Spencer: I feel like the rules they put into place are ok. I hope we can eventually get back to a normal football practice and have a normal season. Things seem to be changing daily, but we want to be prepared for whatever the outcome is. 

Bulletin: Why is letting Spencer participate in sports important to you?

Tai: Spencer has been playing football since age four, transitioning from playing flag football to full tackle, and his passion and talent just increased over time, and he has the desire to play college level. I’m excited to see him in the green and gold at Mayfield, my alma matter. Coach Bradley has stated our slogan for the year is, “Rise Up,” which really has a double meaning now with everything going on.

Bulletin: Do you have any fears or reservations about getting back on the field?

Spencer: Not really, I’m young and healthy and do not think the virus would impact me too hard if I were to get it.

Bulletin: Why is participating in sports at school important to you?

Spencer: I know I have to get good grades to play, and it keeps me focused. It helps me to stay out of trouble.