CW Indians athletics weathered the pandemic storm

By Rick Palsgrove
Managing Editor

Messenger photo by Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester cheerleaders share the spirit of a team win during an Indians’ varsity football game last season.

The Canal Winchester Indian athletic program used effective communication, flexibility, and patience to get through the past year’s coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying restrictions.

“I’m proud of our coaches and their ability to adhere to the Franklin County Board of Health and State Board of Health rules,” said Canal Winchester Schools Athletic Director Pat Durbin. “The pandemic was something we’d never seen before and the rules changed and morphed rapidly. But we stayed flexible and shared information with our coaches, student athletes, and community. Our student athletes were very good at following the rules. Our number one goal throughout is to protect our student athletes and coaches. Safety and communication are paramount.”

Durbin said that, due to the pandemic, student athlete participation in sports was a bit lower this past year.

Messenger photo by Pat Donahue
Canal Winchester junior running back Stephan Byrd on a touchdown run during a varsity football game played last October.

“I understand parents’ concerns,” said Durbin. “Though our participation numbers were not as down as much as I thought they’d be.”

He said the 2020 spring sports were the ones that suffered the most because of the pandemic.

“They lost a whole season and an entire season of development. It was a shame,” said Durbin.

Durbin said planning and flexibility were key in combatting the pandemic. He said the challenges were stressful, but the athletic program overcame them.

“We had to think on our feet and be in front of and ready for any situation the pandemic threw at us,” said Durbin. “We had to think it through. We thought of all the contingencies and we were never caught off guard.”

Durbin said he is more excited for the upcoming 2021-22 athletic season, which hopefully will have fewer COVID restrictions, than he has been for any other in his six years as an athletic director.

“The community is ready and will support it,” said Durbin. “It will be an incredible year, not just in wins and losses for our teams, but for our kids to have the opportunity to compete in the sports they work so hard at and love. It’s going to be a great year.”

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