Tentative schedule provides some optimism for return to sports | February 5, 2021 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |

Pleasanton Weekly

Sports - February 5, 2021

Tentative schedule provides some optimism for return to sports

Dependent on counties progressing in state tiers; still some key questions unanswered

On a conference call last month, the athletic directors from each of the East Bay Athletic League schools met to develop the latest of the ever-changing "Season of Sports."

These are certainly not cast in stone and could change at a moment's notice, but for the record, as of Jan. 15, here is the latest — with their target date for starting practice.

The greenlight has been given to Season 1, at least as of now.

* Season 1 — Purple tier: Cross-country, Feb. 8; swimming and diving, Feb. 8; golf and tennis, Feb. 8; track-and-field, March 22 (to allow cross-country to take place).

* Season 2 — Red tier: Baseball/softball, March 1; girls lacrosse, March 1.

* Season 3 — Orange tier: Football, TBD; boys lacrosse, TBD; soccer, TBD; water polo, TBD; badminton, TBD.

* Season 4 — Yellow tier: Competitive cheer, TBD; basketball, TBD; wrestling, TBD.

There are plenty of details to be worked out in short order, such as transportation, whether spectators will be allowed at events, and of course schedules. There will also be the matter of officials/referees. That is not an issue for Season 1, but should Season 2 take place, it could be a big problem.

With the EBAL split between Alameda and Contra Costa counties, it could pose some challenges. Counties have different guidelines and could force games to be contested within their own county.

Another issue will be how late in the school year would a sport be allowed to start to have a season. The school year ends in late May, so the question would be: How many weeks of a sport would be needed to be deemed worthwhile?

It is a step in the right direction if indeed these sports do start in the next few weeks.

Let Them Play CA numbers

In my last column, I wrote about the Let Them Play CA movement regarding high school and youth sports, including the rallies that were held on high school campuses around the state.

This week I was privy to the numbers the Let Them Play movement is presenting the state of California, and it looks definitive that doors should be open for kids to be back playing sports.

I am not talking about returning to school, as that is an entirely different conversation and brings into play the powerful teacher unions, but just about getting monitored sports back.

The first source the group presents is "Youth Data 2021 from the Mental Health America" (www.mhanational.org).

* Since the lockdown began, over one-half of 11- to 17-year-olds reported having thoughts of suicide or self-harm over more than half or nearly every day of the previous two weeks (September 2020).

* 77,470 reported frequent suicidal ideation.

In addition, the Golden State HSFB Coaches Community collected this data from 275 schools for the dates May 1 to Dec. 31, 2020.

* There have been 21,370 athletes working out, with 567 reports of COVID-19. However, only 11 total cases were attributed to workouts on school campuses, with zero hospitalizations and zero deaths.

* There have been 1,000,315 times that athletes arrived and left campus workouts and 1,009,304 times the athletes left COVID-free, leaving a transmission rate of 1-in-91,756.

* There were 3,140 coaches in those schools, with 205 reports of COVID-19 or 6.5%. However, there were only two reports of cases coming from workouts.

* That leaves 140,564 workouts, with 140,562 coaches coming and going from workouts without testing positive for COVID. The transmission rate is 1-in-70,282.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion on whether the kids should be participating in sports, but let us make sure we approach it on a rational basis. Seeing people verbally assaulted for the support of their kids to return to sports is wrong.

If you do not want your child back to sports, fine, that is your right. But do not play judge and jury for those who do support the movement — that is their right as well and their kids'.

It has been some crazy times and the last thing we need is people viciously bullying others because they have different opinions. In the end, this should be all about the kids — something I think often gets lost in the shuffle.

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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