Friday of this week -- Aug. 14 -- will be the end of the first week of school for Pleasanton, but a different week it is for sure as remote learning dominates the landscape.
There's no traditional "senior sunrise," an annual rite of passage for incoming seniors at the local high schools on the first day of school. Friday would also usually bring the first football game of the season.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic keeping the kids from school, and thus sports too, we are waiting until January 2021 at the earliest before we see any high school sports.
The fall season was pushed back to winter with the addition one a spring sport, while some of the fall sports were pushed back to the spring.
The new seasons are going to be a traffic jam of sports, with a battle for field/gym/court space. One thing that will also be an issue with the compressed seasons is how athletes who play multiple sports are now likely being forced to choose between one or the other.
Devon Kost is a senior at Amador Valley, and in the past he has enjoyed water polo in the fall, followed by boys' volleyball in the spring. The North Coast Section made the decision to put boys volleyball into the re-envisioned winter season, along with water polo.
Kost has a decision to make he never thought would be an issue.
"I thought it was very frustrating at first," Kost said. "Then I heard they might allow us to play two sports. I'd have to work it out with the coaches. Both of my games are on Tuesday and Thursday, so it would be tough."
That is a dilemma that will face Kost, as well as many other athletes, but it is better than the alternative.
"I am very happy they have figured something out," Kost said of getting the chance to play. "In water polo we have a core group of five seniors that have been together for four years, and we just want a chance to play."
Having known the Kost family for some time now, I know Devon will adjust and handle the situation with the grace of the strong young man his family has raised. But let's hope the best-case scenario plays out for everyone -- our student athletes deserve that much.
Back in California
Following her stellar four-year career at Foothill, 2019 graduate Hope Alley opted to take her softball skills to the University of Pittsburgh.
Alley, a shortstop with a cannon arm and lethal bat, is one of the top 20 athletes I have written about in my extensive journalism career, so I had little doubt she would be successful at the next level.
But it is not the effort or success on the field that makes the difference. One thing I have repeatedly seen over the years -- it is tough for a college freshman to move across the country away from their family, the support group that has nurtured them throughout their career.
The Alleys are a close family, and being without that entire group proved too much.
"I wasn't happy on the East Coast," Alley said. "Being away from home and not having my brothers and grandparents be able to come out and see me play was hard."
Alley went through the transfer process and once she was allowed into the transfer portal in June, it allowed her to talk with other schools, as well as schools talk to her as well.
The first one to contact Alley was Cal-Berkeley, and by late July it was a done deal -- Alley was a Bear.
Glad to be back home, Alley did enjoy her experience at Pitt.
"I loved the school and my teammates," she said of Pitt, who saw her first collegiate season cut short when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. "But I didn't notice how great California is until I went away, then came home."
Alley will be playing for new Cal coach Chelsea Spencer. The former Cal shortstop was part of a Cal run of four straight Cal Softball World Series appearances. She is also one of the top infield coaches in the sport.
"How would you not want to play for a coach like that?" Alley said. "Learning from the best infield coach will be great."
The only question is -- when will they get to play again?
"We don't have a lot of answers yet," Alley said. "We have to follow the guidelines of the Berkeley Public Health Department. We have a Zoom meeting this week to get some answers."
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his "Pleasanton Preps" column, email [email protected]