At each of Sydney Beck’s field hockey games last season, her mom, Kathy Beck, was in the stands cheering her on. But this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Kathy Beck had to stand outside the gates of Howarth Field to view her daughter’s games.
“It would be hard for me not to be there,” Kathy Beck said. “Even if I have to stand outside, I’m going to do it, so it actually just means everything to be able to be back in the stadium.”
Temple University Athletics began allowing a limited number of fans in the stands for outdoor athletic contests at the Temple Sports Complex and Howarth Field earlier this month. Despite the regulations, student-athletes are just happy their families can watch them play again.
Both stands are operating at 20 percent capacity. Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, each could carry 500 people at each field, but with social distancing requirements in place, the capacity is down to 96 people for each field, said Lee Roberts, senior associate athletic director for facilities and event management.
“Once inside the gates, everybody has to wear a mask, everything is restricted, no pregame stuff and no postgame stuff,” said Jessica Reo, executive senior associate athletics director and senior women’s administrator. “Once they leave the facility, they can do what they want, but in the facility, they can’t do anything.”
Student-athletes are granted two complimentary tickets for guests to attend home games. Although the game-day tailgating traditions are no longer allowed, student-athletes and parents have found different ways to capture the game-day experience.
Before a home game, student-athletes assign their tickets to guests who will be in attendance on the game day. The list is then sent to security to make sure they know who is coming inside, said Sydney Beck, a sophomore forward for Temple’s field hockey team.
Once arriving at Temple Sports Complex or Howarth Field, guests are allowed inside 30 minutes before the game starts. Parents must show photo identification to security to make sure their name is on the list provided by student-athletes, Sydney Beck said.
“They closed the bathrooms at our facility, so it’s just you go, sit down, watch the game and you’re up and out,” Sydney Beck said. “They aren’t allowed to hang out. If they do, they have to be outside of the gate.”
Kathy Beck notices the changes from last season but is mindful of distancing herself from the other parents and understands the security team is making sure safety is first, she said.
Although family members can’t mingle together during the game, parents have made it their job to be the best fan section and show their love and support for the team, said Lauren Zinkl, a junior midfielder on Temple’s lacrosse team.
“My dad has been leading our cheers for when we score, it’s nice to have our cheering section back whenever we score,” Zinkl added.
Jenn Rodzewich, a senior midfielder on Temple’s lacrosse team, misses the tailgates before and after the game because parents would make food for everyone, Rodzewich said.
But in their absence, Rodzewich feels fortunate to have her dad, who’s her number one supporter, back in the stands for her last season with the Owls, she said.
“Most recently, our Florida game had fans, which Florida fans were allowed in the stands, so having a Temple crowd there was really helpful because Florida was a really big game for us,” Rodzewich added.
Similar to the lacrosse team, parents from the field hockey team would bring food and snacks last season. Everyone would set up chairs and walk around Temple Sports Complex with their family to talk about the game, Sydney Beck said.
“They’ve been trying to do stuff before we get on the bus that would mock a tailgate, like have little goodie bags for us before we get on the bus,” Sydney Beck added.
As the 2020-21 sports season wraps up, Reo believes students will be welcomed back into the stands and things will start to return to a new normal in the 2021-22 sports season, she said.
Being side-by-side with the girls’ families watching Temple field hockey means everything to Kathy Beck, who’s attended field hockey games for 10 years, she said.
“Four years go quick and you don’t get them back,” Kathy Beck added. “It’s wonderful to be there.”