On short notice, the Amsterdam football team got back to work Monday afternoon.
The Greater Amsterdam School District announced Monday that the team, which had its Week 1 game against Albany postponed due to coronavirus-related issues within the program, had passed COVID-19 safety protocols and was able to resume practice in advance of its season opener Friday at Troy.
Amsterdam’s Week 1 game was postponed last Wednesday after two members of the team displayed symptoms of COVID-19, though at the time of the decision district officials said that neither had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and the move to postpone — made, along with the decision to pause all team practices, in consultation with Montgomery County public health officials — came about due to precautionary measures.
With safety protocols cleared, first-year head coach John Homich quickly scrambled to get the team back on the field Monday afternoon.
“Even though it’s only been since last Wednesday,” Homich said in a phone interview Monday afternoon, “it feels like an eternity these past couple days, just waiting and waiting and waiting to get that go-ahead.”
The Albany game was scheduled to be the first game on Amsterdam’s renovated turf field at Lynch Literacy Academy. It was also set to be Homich’s debut as head coach — on his birthday, no less.
Instead, Friday passed very differently than Homich had envisioned.
“It was a strange birthday,” he said. “Quarantined for it two years in a row. But, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.”
Homich said he stayed in constant communication with his team throughout the pause, and was able to very quickly scramble to get practice organized Monday once the all-clear was given.
“It was a hectic few minutes,” he said, “trying to gather everything together and get the messages out to the team so that we could get going as quickly as possible.”
With practice finally resuming, Homich said the team was ready to put the stress of Week 1 behind it and redirect its focus to its Section II Class A Capital Division contest against a Troy team that opened its season this past Friday with a 42-12 victory over La Salle Institute.
“We’re putting everything behind us,” he said. “Our full attention is on Troy for Friday night. That’s all we’re worried about, and that’s all we’re going to talk about and plan for.”