All 23 high schools in the Coachella Valley are simultaneously trying to bring back winter, spring and even some fall sports. The planning process is mind-boggling for Athletic Director at Shadow Hills high school, Michael Walsh.
“Lots of reading, I feel like I’m going through like reading a phone book almost every day about the guidelines and the interpretations and then how it affects and impacts our teams and our student-athletes and our coaches.”
Athletic Director at Desert Hot Springs high school, Kai Lyles says that with so many sports who share facilities at their schools’, coaches have to work together to plan practices and competition.
Yeah, so that was the interesting piece, right? You know, there’s a possibility where we may still have some football going on, we’re gonna have soccer we’re gonna have baseball, softball, track our facilities, right, this is what we have available. And we’re gonna have to work with each other as coaches and make sure that we have enough space.”
Also, due to the states COVID-19 guidelines, multi-sport athletes can only participate in one sport at a time.
Lyles: “A team now as a cohort, so a kid can’t go to football practice one day, and then you know, the next day go out to baseball practice, they can’t do that, because it’s that’s mixing cohorts.”
Walsh: “We will see there is a little bit of maybe missing some preseason games or something like that because of the compressed schedule. But other than that kids are still able to play multiple sports for us.
Despite the busy days and keeping up with constant changes for school officials, bringing student-athletes some kind of normalcy back in their lives, makes it all worth it.
Lyles: “The biggest thing is we want to get these kids out playing whether we have a full team or not in some sports, it’s whatever we can do to, you know, kind of get these kids back to a normal high school life.”
Walsh: “One of the great things that I saw here was when we hosted Hemet (high school) for cross country, our athletes coming over and thanking the fans that were in the parking lot. It’d been 11 months of the kids competing but 11 months for mom and dad seeing their kid compete.”