Photo courtesy of Pinewood SmugMug
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many sports programs across the country to be put on hold. Pinewood is not an exception. Seasons have been cancelled, practices have been assigned different formats, and athletes are overall not going through the same experience. As semester two begins, how will a new wave of sport seasons be affected by COVID-19?
According to Matt Stimson, director of high school athletic programs, Pinewood is following all the guidelines put in place by the CIF and the CCS.
“Once the stay-at-home order is lifted, we will be able to begin the purple tier sports,” Stimson said.
Photo courtesy of SmugMug
Sports have been divided into tiers, much like the county’s COVID-19 tiers. The order, from least to most restrictive, is purple, red, orange, then yellow. Sports in the purple can now start since the stay-at-home order was lifted.
“That would be tennis, cross country, swimming and golf. So we’re hoping those sports can get going in the next couple of weeks,” Stimson said.
Outdoor sports will now be required to wear a mask 100 percent of the time. Participants must maintain six feet distancing (even during conditionings and modified practices), equipment should be sanitized between uses, and proper hand hygiene is essential.
Stimson added that all other sports would be put on hold, because all the other ones are in the red, orange, or yellow tier.
According to Athletic Trainer and COVID Specialist Theresa Maksim, there are many guidelines athletes need to follow. Outdoor sports will now be required to wear a mask 100 percent of the time. Participants must maintain six feet distancing (even during conditionings and modified practices), equipment should be sanitized between uses, and proper hand hygiene is essential. The prohibition of sharing water bottles or water jugs and the requirement that all practices are to be held outdoors have also been put in place just to be on the safe side.
Coaches naturally have to adapt to this situation. High school football coach Yong Kim is one of those coaches, as he has had to adjust his team’s practice schedules.
Photo courtesy of Pinewood SmugMug
“We have always adhered to the county guidelines and will continue to do so. Football will continue to have two practices a week until we as an athletic department get a clearer picture on the season timeline,” Kim said.
Since football is one of the most physical sports there is, it makes sense to put some extra guidelines in just to be cautious. Kim said that the players are taking charge and helping each other.
“We are diligent on keeping our players masked and socially distant throughout the session,” Kim said. “The players are really good about keeping each other accountable, which is an aspect we like to cultivate to make them better student athletes.”
Kim added that this felt like an added bonus of maximizing the safety of the team. The players enjoy being around each other, while still following and respecting the guidelines.
Kim has had to switch up how he runs practices to use the limited time he has well.
“We do our best to mix in conditioning into the drills and routines, such as route running, in order to get the players in shape without a dedicated ‘conditioning’ session,” Kim said.
Kim said that he varies up the sessions to reinforce the offensive concepts while allowing players to enjoy themselves during the practice sessions.
“Instead of weight room periods, we do a lot of body weight exercises; mixing in elements of competition such as going against the clock, against one’s partner, or partner workouts are some of the ways we keep practice fresh and productive,” Kim said.
“We stay on top of any updates that come our way from either side but [the county officials] are the public health experts and have been able to steer us in the right direction so far,” Maksim said.
Neither Kim, Stimson, or Maksim thought there was a need to put in safety guidelines beyond the requirements. Stimson said that Pinewood will continue to adhere to the county guidelines of wearing masks and social distancing, which is why tennis and cross country will be allowed to continue.
Maksim agrees that following county guidelines is Pinewood’s best bet.
“We stay on top of any updates that come our way from either side but [the county officials] are the public health experts and have been able to steer us in the right direction so far,” Maksim said. “Although, with the new regulations and potential for seasons to begin, there may be additional safety measures we take to ensure the safety of our community, so only time will tell.”.