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Pleasanton Preps: Decision to postpone high school sports again makes me 'as mad as hell'

Dec. 7 date pushed out amid pandemic

At the extreme risk of dating myself, I remember the great scene from the movie "Network" (1976) where the late actor Peter Finch, playing a news anchor who hit his breaking point in dealing with everything going on in the country, goes off script and tells the audience the following:

"I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell -- 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad! You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!'"

Sound familiar? Maybe a little like what we are going through now? The issues that provoked Finch have changed, but the anger is growing to the same level.

It sure does resonate with me.

For the sake of this column, I will touch on high school athletics, and high school athletics alone.

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Late last week, the word came down that high school sports are being pushed back once again. Dec. 7 was the first date for sports to resume, but now they are "postponed."

This is garbage.

Club sports continue, often using high school facilities for practice. It's also getting more consistent for these local club teams to travel out of state for tournaments and come back fine.

Yet this is lost on decision-makers.

With high school sports, at least the kids had Dec. 7 as the carrot to point their hopes toward. Now that is gone and who knows when they will have another hope to cling to, if one even arises.

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So, where do we direct our anger?

It is not the Pleasanton Unified School District, as they have their hands tied by the Alameda County Public Health Department.

In my heart of hearts, I believe PUSD would love to see the kids competing. They regularly hear from upset parents and know what it would mean to Pleasanton. High school sports have always been one of the fabrics that makes this community great.

California's "do as I say, not as I do" mentality is creating a lack of credible leadership in the state and that is trickling down to the respective counties.

What always has me "as mad as hell" is when people sitting behind desks make life-altering decisions for others who are out trying to live life. Now, it is affecting our kids.

I am not alone with these feelings. Parents are getting upset, as are the coaches.

The coaches feel they are swimming in quicksand and are trying to push back. Many coaches are working together in a new organization called the West Coast Coaching Alliance.

James Logan High School football coach Ricky Rodriguez is the driving force behind the WCCA, an organization that now has over 500 members. They count not only high school coaches as members, but band directors and middle school coaches as well.

For Rodriguez what is happening currently runs deep.

"For me this is personal," Rodriguez said of the shutdown of both schools and athletics. "I see the affects of kids not being able to go to school, not just academically, but socially as well. A lot of kids are struggling."

Rodriguez, a 2003 graduate of Washington High in Fremont, has been running conditioning camps at Logan for 15 weeks with 100 student-athletes. In that span, they have not had one player test positive.

"I know some people think we are running around unorganized," Rodriguez said. "But that's not the case at all. We spend 40 minutes every single day checking the kids in, taking temperatures and making sure they are all safe."

In the day and age where peoples' motives are questioned regularly in hopes of discrediting a point of view, most coaches stand above reproach. High school coaches do not take on any position to make money but do it for the good of the kids

"We ask so much of our student-athletes, like homework, studying and practice when it's regular times," Rodriguez said. "In times like these, we need to go to bat for them -- they deserve it."

The WCCA needs your help.

"We can only do so much as coaches," Rodriguez said. "If the parents send emails or call the (decision-makers), it can really help."

For more information on the WCCA and how to get involved, please contact Rodriguez at [email protected]

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]

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Pleasanton Preps: Decision to postpone high school sports again makes me 'as mad as hell'

Dec. 7 date pushed out amid pandemic

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Nov 24, 2020, 4:53 pm

At the extreme risk of dating myself, I remember the great scene from the movie "Network" (1976) where the late actor Peter Finch, playing a news anchor who hit his breaking point in dealing with everything going on in the country, goes off script and tells the audience the following:

"I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell -- 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad! You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!'"

Sound familiar? Maybe a little like what we are going through now? The issues that provoked Finch have changed, but the anger is growing to the same level.

It sure does resonate with me.

For the sake of this column, I will touch on high school athletics, and high school athletics alone.

Late last week, the word came down that high school sports are being pushed back once again. Dec. 7 was the first date for sports to resume, but now they are "postponed."

This is garbage.

Club sports continue, often using high school facilities for practice. It's also getting more consistent for these local club teams to travel out of state for tournaments and come back fine.

Yet this is lost on decision-makers.

With high school sports, at least the kids had Dec. 7 as the carrot to point their hopes toward. Now that is gone and who knows when they will have another hope to cling to, if one even arises.

So, where do we direct our anger?

It is not the Pleasanton Unified School District, as they have their hands tied by the Alameda County Public Health Department.

In my heart of hearts, I believe PUSD would love to see the kids competing. They regularly hear from upset parents and know what it would mean to Pleasanton. High school sports have always been one of the fabrics that makes this community great.

California's "do as I say, not as I do" mentality is creating a lack of credible leadership in the state and that is trickling down to the respective counties.

What always has me "as mad as hell" is when people sitting behind desks make life-altering decisions for others who are out trying to live life. Now, it is affecting our kids.

I am not alone with these feelings. Parents are getting upset, as are the coaches.

The coaches feel they are swimming in quicksand and are trying to push back. Many coaches are working together in a new organization called the West Coast Coaching Alliance.

James Logan High School football coach Ricky Rodriguez is the driving force behind the WCCA, an organization that now has over 500 members. They count not only high school coaches as members, but band directors and middle school coaches as well.

For Rodriguez what is happening currently runs deep.

"For me this is personal," Rodriguez said of the shutdown of both schools and athletics. "I see the affects of kids not being able to go to school, not just academically, but socially as well. A lot of kids are struggling."

Rodriguez, a 2003 graduate of Washington High in Fremont, has been running conditioning camps at Logan for 15 weeks with 100 student-athletes. In that span, they have not had one player test positive.

"I know some people think we are running around unorganized," Rodriguez said. "But that's not the case at all. We spend 40 minutes every single day checking the kids in, taking temperatures and making sure they are all safe."

In the day and age where peoples' motives are questioned regularly in hopes of discrediting a point of view, most coaches stand above reproach. High school coaches do not take on any position to make money but do it for the good of the kids

"We ask so much of our student-athletes, like homework, studying and practice when it's regular times," Rodriguez said. "In times like these, we need to go to bat for them -- they deserve it."

The WCCA needs your help.

"We can only do so much as coaches," Rodriguez said. "If the parents send emails or call the (decision-makers), it can really help."

For more information on the WCCA and how to get involved, please contact Rodriguez at [email protected]

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]

Comments

Claudette McDermott
Registered user
Del Prado
on Nov 25, 2020 at 3:38 pm
Claudette McDermott, Del Prado
Registered user
on Nov 25, 2020 at 3:38 pm

I think all contact sports should be at a halt. Where do you put the anger? Put it towards understanding that a pandemic that has taken so many lives in all age groups continue to rise, because there are a number of people who just don't want to deal with COVID in the way we are told by the professionals.

Use this as a teaching time for students and adults who would rather enjoy today and feel tomorrow will take care of itself. It's that thinking that has gotten us here today. Infections, hospitalizations and death on the rise. Teach that we need to be less social, limit contact outside of your household, and only go out when necessary to grocery shop, dental & doctor visits, and work when masked and distancing it available. Do this and the numbers will drop and we can begin again with strict guidelines.

Until then, we will continue to have issues with angry people wanting to hide their heads in the sand and hope it away, thinking only of themselves and their desires. We all want it to be 'Normal' again, but it can't be until we stop the virus.

Teach, learn and have patience, because we are still alive and able to do so unlike the over 200,000 that have lost their lives because of their contact with COVID.


David Leslie
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 26, 2020 at 11:34 pm
David Leslie, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Nov 26, 2020 at 11:34 pm

With Covid 19 case numbers, positive test rates and deaths rates all rising, pushing back the start date for high-school sports sounds like a very prudent decision. A sharp increase in cases in the fall and winter months has been anticipated since the pandemic began, so I never understood why a December start date was set in the first place. Schools have a responsibility for the safety of their students and, in a time of pandemic, their families as well.

This is a difficult time for all of us, but consider how difficult is it for those losing their loved ones. Every one of the 259,000 people who have died so far have left behind spouses, children, brothers and sisters who now have emotional holes in their lives that can never be filled. When we bring groups of people together we create risks not only for the participants but for for their families and anyone with whom they'll have close contact. We know this. Kids need sports in their lives, and could really use it right now, but how many kids do you think would trade a parent or sibling for the chance to play sports in school? That is a very real risk.

I find this sort of "mad as hell" talk about prudent restrictions to be unproductive and irresponsible. If we hope to slow the spread of this deadly pandemic, we need to work together, not against each other. When you wear a mask and follow the advice of our health experts you're not just protecting yourself, you're protecting all of us.


Joe
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 27, 2020 at 8:39 pm
Joe, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Nov 27, 2020 at 8:39 pm
Franco
Registered user
Vineyard Hills
on Nov 28, 2020 at 5:03 pm
Franco, Vineyard Hills
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2020 at 5:03 pm

When I read that line about "someone behind a desk" and "trying to live their lives" it "made me mad as hell". The first phrase is code for thousands of public health officials trying to save lives and even more thousands of frontline medical workers fighting to save people on ventilators so that THEY could live their lives. But the author's priority is self-centered around his "sports". The insidiousness of covid doesn't care about his sports and providing superspreader events so sporta can satisfy his "living his life" simply ignores the reality of how that ends up killing people who want to live their lives.


Mike
Registered user
Val Vista
on Dec 8, 2020 at 9:16 am
Mike, Val Vista
Registered user
on Dec 8, 2020 at 9:16 am

Direct your anger? How about directing your anger at the people responsible for the magnitude of this pandemic. The folks that we elected to run our country that have ignored science. In a simple word: Republicans. They deserve every bit of anger you can muster. But then again you could also grow up, feel your anger and realize it is misplaced and work on solving the problem by encouraging others to wear masks, wash hands and avoid going out. But I suspect being a grownup is beyond your capacity.


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