Fans welcomed back to arenas as athletics and hope return


Dylan Drury '22

Athletics are seeing a slight return to normalcy this spring.

Athletics in New England and the tri-state area are seeing a return to normalcy this spring.  Five major arenas have re-opened for fans at a limited capacity, and local high school athletic leagues, such as the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA), are striving to hold normal spring seasons.

The FAA announced March 8 that it is “hopeful to have an official and meaningful regular season” with the FAA inclusive teams after the previous spring, fall, and winter seasons saw major changes, according to  As during previous seasons, this spring season will include presenting athletes with all-league and honorable mention awards.  The FAA will also name a regular season champion unless variables such as travel restrictions, weather, and quarantine requirements impact the ability of teams playing.

The Sacred Heart lacrosse teams will have a competitive and meaningful regular season in accordance with FAA guidelines.  Courtesy of Ms. Elizabeth Dennison

On a broader scale, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo allowed limited percent capacity for fans at New York State arenas February 23.  These arenas include Madison Square Garden (MSG), Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Nassau Coliseum, and the Barclays Center.  There have already been a number of games with fans present, and although there are restrictions, these games with attendees have been successful.  The arenas are home to the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Brooklyn Nets, and Long Island Nets and will allow their usual National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Basketball Association (NBA) games to take place.

New York arenas are taking strict precautionary measures to ensure public safety.  These precautions include a required negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours of attending the event, socially distanced seating arrangements, and limited food and retail services, according to

Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will allow fans in their stadiums by the beginning of the Major League Baseball (MLB) season, which begins April 1, according to arenadigest.comMr. Cuomo announced that Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are limited to a 20 percent capacity at the start of the season.  The attending fans will have to adhere to safety protocols to attend games, according to

Mr. Cuomo’s inspiration for the opening of large sports stadiums and entertainment arenas was the “unparalleled success” of the January 16 Buffalo Bills football game at the Highmark Stadium in Erie Country, New York with 7,000 fans in attendance, according to

The New York Rangers began allowing a limited number of fans February 26, marking their first game with fans since March 7, 2020.  Dylan Drury ’22

The NBA Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks were the first teams in New York state to allow fans back in their arenas February 23.  There were about 300 fans in attendance at the Brooklyn Nets game located at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and around 2,000 fans at the NY Knicks game at MSG in New York, New York, according to The New York Times

Junior Erin Griffin represents Sacred Heart Greenwich athletics on the field hockey and lacrosse teams.  She reflected on how the opening of arenas in New York provides hope of a sense of normalcy.

“The opening of sports arenas offers me hope to a return to normal life because more people can gather in an indoor setting and experience a very special and greatly missed aspect of life: cheering on your favorite sports team with other people that share your common interest and fun,” Erin said.

Featured Image by Dylan Drury ’22