Sports Coming Back in Full Swing

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As the world is slowly returning to normal amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, people are beginning to get back to the lives they lived pre-pandemic. Alameda County has reached the red tier and the California health guidelines have been updated allowing more flexibility in many departments. 

 

Livermore High School (LHS) students are able to enjoy all sports back including indoor sports. Some “purple tier” sports are wrapping up their seasons because they were permitted to practice and compete during the county’s time spent in the purple tier. These sports include  Cross Country, Swimming, Tennis and Golf. The Tennis and Golf seasons are longer than the others so they will end in April of 2021.

 

“With our numbers dropping [COVID-19 cases] it makes it a lot easier to pull off some of these sports. There was a lawsuit down in San Diego, where some people sued the state California department of health about the guidelines.” said James Petersdorf, Vice Principal and Athletic Director. “hat opened up new guidelines and there is really a new moving part every week. There are a lot of people that are really pressing hard on the California government to let us open up more and more.”  

 

Sports that were able to practice while the county was in the purple tier were able to continue their seasons and start playing games. Some sports that haven’t stopped practicing are the Dance, Cheerleading, and Football teams.

 

“Football, Girls Lacrosse, Baseball and Softball all started. They are all red tier sports for us and they are functional,” said Petersdorf. 

 

“Football had their first game last week (March 7-13)  and baseball and softball will have their first games this week (March 14-21) and Girls Lacrosse will have their first game on the 23rd of March,” said Petersdorf. “The next wave will be track on the 29th of March, and then boys lacrosse on the 5th of April, and on the 12th of April we will be starting our first indoor sports which are volleyball and wrestling. On the 19th of April we will be starting Boys and Girls Soccer, Basketball for Boys and Girls, and Stunt cheer.”

 

The practice and competition dates for these sports can be found on the school website

 

“Athletes and coaches are all still required to wear masks and social distance during practices. They [the athletes] are required to wear masks at all times they possibly can other than when it is too physically demanding,” said Petersdorf. 

 

For example, when an athlete is sprinting or running, their mask can be removed to increase their oxygen intake for a short period of time. But those who play Golf for example are not expected to have a problem wearing their mask the entire time. 

 

The coaches and athletes on campus are being tested regularly for the Coronavirus.

 

Petersdorf explained, “Football and Water polo actually fall under a testing guideline where they have to be tested if we go above seven on our cases per hundred thousand because they are high contact outdoor sports. And then our indoor sports will have to be tested every week regardless.”

 

Of course the school is following all the guidelines given each week, while also trying to have the sports go back to their normal pace. The seasons for all sports will be cut short due to the fact that they are cramming all sports into these last few months of the school year.

 

“It’s exciting to have them [sports] all back,” said Petersdorf. “As the athletic director I miss having games happening and having athletes working, so it’s nice to have that world back. We’re trying to jam an entire school year’s worth of sports into three months which is a little taxing on the facilities and just personal with having coverage for a lot of things. I mean we missed out on so much so to have this back is awesome.” 

 

Students are not yet allowed to attend any sports games due to the health guidelines. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) states that immediate household members only are allowed to come to games. 

 

“If we get down to the yellow tier and we are allowed to do more, then we will do more. Even when we go to indoor sports there are requirements where we currently stand that say about 10% capacity of the gym is allowed. This includes players, coaches, and spectators,” said Petersdorf. “We will empty out the stadium or gym after games. Like once JV games are over, JV parents leave, then Varsity parents come in.” 

 

Sports that would regularly be practicing on campus using the fields are currently practicing at the high school at their given times. The sports that haven’t practiced at the high school prior to the pandemic will continue to practice off campus. 

 

“[If we move back into the purple tier] we would have to start testing again for some of our sports and some of the other ones could still technically go with different restrictions. We would probably have to up restrictions and shut the stadium down as far as any kind of spectators, and limit levels as far as what we can do. We couldn’t do any indoor sports,” Petersdorf said.

 

With the CDPH rules and restrictions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have not been able to hold any sort of normal seasons for sports. Athletes have been deprived of their usual practices and experiences with their school team. However some sports clubs have been available for these athletes to join and participate in.

 

“I think there is a certain amount of athletes that didn’t feel safe about coming out necessarily or because the seasons are modified they didn’t come out to play. Overall we’ve seen a little drop in numbers but not like crazy numbers. I think we’re about 18 to 19% lower than usual for players coming out to the game,” said Petersdorf.

 

“But we still have full teams… It’s been tough with kids that play multiple sports because we are not allowing two sports at the same time on site. So we have lost some kids from certain teams due to them playing a different sport. This is only for right now, once we are allowed to loosen up restrictions and see how the school’s opening goes we should be able to open that back up,” said Petersdorf. “We are trying to keep it normal as much as we can.” 

 

Tryouts are still happening even though the seasons have been cut short. For more information check the school website for updates.