The high school sports season is going to be a gigantic mess.
I don’t envy the schools’ athletic directors, coaches, assistant coaches, athletic trainers and the local sportswriters (me included), who figure to be busy from early April to mid-July.
At least, that’s the plan right now not withstanding any pandemic-related issues, which have shut down most of the local sports slate since last March. The Catholic schools have played most of their sports, but the public schools have been dormant.
Although a big mess when you consider the PSAL will try to squeeze three sports seasons into three months, it’s great news because the athletes deserve it. The seniors will get one last hurrah, while the juniors will get experience and be able to put some of their performances on tape for the colleges.
PSAL practices will start in April with seasons in 23 sports (count ‘em) expected to start May 1. That’s when teams will have to fight for practice times and field use or maybe find a public field to run some drills on.
Consider that at most schools this spring, the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams, the boys and girls’ lacrosse teams, girls’ flag football team (where applicable), along with the schools’ football teams will be vying for practice time. Soccer and football are normally fall sports, but will be played in the spring this time around.
Of course, athletic directors from schools with lighted fields will have the luxury of more field time and spreading things out. That means some teams will be out on the field until well after the sun goes down.
Indoor sports? Forget staying inside. The rumor right now is that basketball, wrestling volleyball will move outdoors. Talk about the wind messing up a three-point shot or a volley. It could happen. And I hope the wrestling mats are very well padded for any big takedowns in matches that could take place in the parking lot of the schools.
Want to watch your son or daughter play? A source told the Advance no spectators will be allowed to attend any PSAL games or matches this spring because of the pandemic. The CHSAA spectator policy isn’t so strict, but there are protocols in place.
And you can forget about any Catholic and public school rivalry being rekindled in any sport this spring. The PSAL has already told their teams they can only play league games and can’t go out of their district to play games, which means any games against Catholic schools are not allowed.
Then what about the two- and three-sport athletes? Right now, it looks like the PSAL will permit athletes to play just one sport. So if you wrestle, play football and baseball, it’s time to concentrate on one sport.
It may not be fair, but it’s better than the alternative of playing no sports at all during these COVID-19 times, and for that reason alone, the upcoming sports season will be well worth it, albeit a crazy one.