Covid closures leave winter sports in the back yard 00:00

Sports in Society Nowhere to play

Covid closures leave winter sports in the back yard

Like tens of thousands of other young athletes, Logan Schafer, 11, has had to be creative when trying to keep his hockey skills sharp. Pond and lake rinks help fill that gap.

Did You Know? Tap to expand
Project Play’s 2020 study found that three in 10 kids who previously played sports are no longer interested in participating. Kids who continued to play are spending about 6.5 hours less per week on sports during the pandemic.

Eleven-year-old Logan Schafer has been playing hockey for five or six years. He lives in White Bear Lake, Minn. 

During the regular season, he plays for the White Bear Lake Squirts. But with the pandemic, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz paused all high school and youth programs, including youth hockey, in fall 2020. Beginning in the new year, youth sports were allowed to resume, but with specific guidelines issued by the Minnesota Department of Health around games and practices. 

Luckily for Schafer, there were lakes nearby that he could practice on that froze over during the winter. He could practice his moves by himself, though he admitted playing on a lake and outside of a rink presents some challenges.  

“If you’re going to practice, like passing, it’s hard to practice passing with a snowbank or without anybody else or my dad,” he said.  

Meanwhile, many other kids he knows who play hockey didn’t have access to a place to practice, which has set them back more. 

There is a silver lining to this whole year. Schafer’s favorite thing about 2020: “No school for a while.” It has all felt like a very long summer break. 

Share your thoughts

Justin Silvis

Sports in Society

Billions of reasons to be missed

Stories left today Choose a subscription level (one is free) or login
Episode Nowhere to play

We bring you Life Outside Your Bubble.™

Join Us To Listen, Watch, Read and Ponder
Choose a membership option below to keep pondering.