Sports seasons changed due to safety concerns

August 29, 2020 — by Ben Li and Allen Luo

In response to  the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) — the governing body for athletics in California — has made major changes to seasonal sports. With only two seasons rather than three, all fall sports have been delayed to either December or March, shuffling many formerly spring and winter sports as well. 

The schedule changes affect field hockey, football, cross country, water polo and volleyball, which start on Dec. 14; badminton, soccer and tennis, which start on Feb. 22; swimming, which starts on March 8; and baseball, softball, wrestling, basketball, golf, lacrosse and track, which start on March 15. The starting date for competitive cheer has not been announced yet.

Unless the pandemic worsens and all sports are canceled, these dates will not be changed, with boys volleyball being the only exception. While other seasons may be canceled entirely due to safety concerns, the boys’ volleyball season will be moved to the spring season since their season was already canceled last school year. This is only possible because the volleyball season was moved to the winter to accommodate both badminton and basketball teams in the gym; having all four basketball teams, the badminton team and the volleyball team would have resulted in little to no gym use for any of them.

Students were generally understanding of these changes.

“I think the new schedule for sports is a good idea to ensure that when we do return to play, it’s in a safe environment,” junior Marcus Kuo said.

Because the majority of sports are competing outside of their regular season, the CIF has chosen to waive Rule 600, which ordinarily prohibits student athletes from participating in both school and club sports during the same season. 

“Some sports will be impacted because multisport athletes may choose to only play one sport this year,” athletics director Tim Lugo said. “We will allow multi-sport participation this year, but playing multiple sports or games in a season will be a grind for those who choose to do so.”

The new schedule has also greatly impacted coaches. Many sports, like tennis, golf and volleyball have the same coaches for both boys and girls, so their practices will be more challenging to manage this coming season due to the overlap

Since they cannot have the facilities for five days a week, coaches will need to find more flexibility with their schedules and practice times, Lugo said. As a result, many coaches, such as boys’ basketball head coach Patrick Judge, are preparing students for the season by assigning at-home workouts or exercises. The team, for example, has been coming up with daily challenges for its players to keep each other in shape.

Although the pandemic has put everyone in a difficult position, Lugo said quarantine is also a chance for student athletes to improve as their season approaches. 

“This is a great opportunity to get out of the house and get some much needed exercise and be around friends, albeit with social distancing,” Lugo said. “The more athletes do to be ready, the better off they'll be if and when sports begin again.”

 

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Due to the lightning complex that occurred in the week of Aug.17, Santa Clara County is currently surrounded by wildfires, covering the city of Saratoga in heavy smoke. The air quality was in the range of 100 to 200 for the past five days, forcing SHS to close down. Photo by Selina Chen.

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