NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Sports aren’t the only thing to be sidelined by the pandemic. Fans and the student sections behind them also haven’t been able to participate in sports.

It’s usually a packed house both on and off the field for Corona Del Mar Athletic Leadership class teacher and King’s Krew student section Advisor Kevin McCaffrey.

What You Need To Know

  • Corona Del Mar faces Los Alamitos on Friday

  • The King’s Krew used to get up to 1,000 students at games

  • The Krew, part of the Athletic Leadership class, is now supporting all CDM sports teams via social media

But with school and sports sidelined during the pandemic and now with students not allowed in the bleachers at games, McCaffrey is teaching his class and having to get his students involved on a limited in-person basis and, of course, virtually.

“It’s obviously been really different. I look today we have four people in class, where we should have 45 if it’s a normal year. Things have been really tough, especially for this King’s Krew class. We make this class based on school spirit and athletics and supporting athletics, and up until last week, there haven’t been any athletics,” McCaffrey said.

You can imagine that stirring up school spirit isn’t easy from a distance, especially when you consider that the Krew used to get up 1,000 students at games, almost half of the entire student body.

Jack Johnston is a senior safety on the defending state champion Sea Kings football team and has been enrolled in this class for the three years it’s been available.

He knows what it feels like to have this kind of home-field advantage.

“It’s a totally [a] different environment, even the games. Just having your friends, classmates, teachers, whoever it is — having the packed stands, having them in the stands is just amazing,” Johnston said.

And while they’re cheering from the virtual bench with signage and social media support for all the Sea King sports, not just football, classmates and fellow varsity athletes like Elysia Samen, who plays two sports, see the importance of a class like this now more than ever. It teaches them leadership skills in sports and life, and during a global pandemic, it teaches them to persevere.

“Even though there’s going to be some obstacles and challenges, I can figure out a way over them, around them, and it’ll be with the support of my teammates. And then that just helps me realize that I have to be the same toward them,” Samen said.

And for McCaffrey, who also coaches baseball, winning is as much about success as it is the pride in your home team, especially in this season that everyone just feels lucky to be part of.

“It’s just great to be out there this year. Yes, we get to compete, and that’s what we want to do. But the main thing this year, we’re all just winning by being out there this year,” McCaffrey said.