High School Notebook: Smyrna athletes trying to have parents at games

Smyrna High senior volleyball player Sophia Basler started a petition to have parents allowed at games this fall. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

SMYRNA — Sophia Basler says her mom has never missed one of her volleyball matches.

Her dad has only missed one, because he was on a business trip — and even with that match he was able to watch on-line.

Basler, a Smyrna High senior who’s been playing volleyball since she was 12, said there’s just always something about having her parents in the stands.

“If something’s going wrong or I’m messing up, it’s easy to just look at them and be like, ‘Oh, everything’s OK,’” said Basler. “Obviously, I have my coaches. But sometimes it’s just nice to see a familiar face in the stands. It calms you down a little bit.

“Then just to be able to talk to them about the games afterwards. … they give me feedback, which is nice.”

Basler can’t imagine not having her parents at her matches during her senior season and she believes a lot of other student-athletes feel the same way.

She’s started a petition that she hopes will allow at least parents to attend Smyrna athletic events when the delayed fall season begins next week.

By state law, schools can have gatherings of no more than 250 people at games as health officials try to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many schools are allowing no more than two family members of home student participants to attend with no visiting fans permitted.

Some school districts in the state, however, aren’t allowing any fans to be on hand.

Smyrna quarterback Aidan Sanchez said he was glad to have his mom on hand when he suffered a serious injury in a game last fall. (Delaware State News file photo)

Smyrna has not publicly announced its regulations yet.

Basler has enlisted players from each of the Eagles’ fall sports teams to gather student signatures. She said they’re up to 700 names on the petition at change.org with hopes of reaching 1,000.

“Especially the seniors, everyone was pretty upset,” said Basler. “We’re grateful to have sports in the first place. But we definitely believe that, with wearing masks and social distancing, that there will be enough room to have at least our parents at the game.

“Parents are willing to sit in their cars and watch (for outdoor sports) if they’re allowed to do that. But right now they’re saying they’re not even allowed to sit in their cars and watch.”

Smyrna field hockey player Emily Thompson said her parents have always been her biggest supporters, too.

“I think our fans are responsible enough and can follow the protocols,” she said. “We have pretty large facilities — both indoors and outdoors. I think it can be accomplished that our fans can watch us safely.”

Senior football player Aidan Sanchez said he was glad that his mother was at his game last year when he suffered a serious injury.

The quarterback took a hard hit in a game against Salesianum and was briefly knocked out. He was taken from the field by ambulance.

Sanchez said he knows how difficult it would for a parent not to be on hand if their child really needed them.

“A parent always wants to be there and help their child,” said Sanchez. “So when they can’t do anything to help us and get a phone call, it just makes it that much worse.

“I do know she was there,” he said about his injury. “I remember my athletic trainer trying to help me, I remember my principal being right there and then I remember my mom being right there. Times like that, you want to talk to your parents. You want to talk to the people you trust and talk to the people who can help you and make it better.”

Still around

Collin Jaksch, the Polytech High football player who suffered a serious head injury in a game last fall, isn’t able to play the game any more.

But the senior still came out to be around the team during some of the Panthers’ pre-season workouts. Jaksch’s twin brother, Trent, plays for Polytech.

“I know the guys enjoy seeing him and I enjoy seeing him,” said Panthers’ coach Bobby Gilmore.

Polytech’s season opener at Tower Hill on Oct. 24 has now been scheduled for 3 p.m. It will be one day short of a full calendar year since the Panthers played their last football game.


The Polytech High field hockey team isn’t taking any chances on having its Senior Night postponed late in the season. The Panthers have scheduled their Senior Night for their season opener against Indian River on Oct. 20. … Senior football players Anthony Rivera, Cordero Smith and Kendal Smith transferred from Caesar Rodney to Lake Forest in the off-season. … Braden Davis, the highly-recruited Middletown High quarterback playing at Lake Minneola, Fla. this fall, injured his right ankle when he tried to slide after a run in a game last weekend. He was carted off the field with ice on his ankle. … High school teams aren’t playing pre-season scrimmages this fall. Some Henlopen Conference programs had football scrimmages scheduled that are now listed as canceled. They couldn’t have been played before Oct. 19, which is just five days before most teams’ openers.