High school players and coaches across all sports began practicing again Monday, Jan. 11, adhering to pandemic-specific safety guidelines, dreaming of actual competition once again.
Those dreams are hanging by a thread right now.
District officials are awaiting an update from the Oregon State Activities Association, an organization whose member schools are “bound by the rules, regulations, and guidance set forth by the Governor’s Office and the Oregon Health Authority.”
Brandon Standridge, athletics director for Creswell’s middle and high schools, said the Bulldogs’ programs are still ready to go.
“We’re going with the idea we’re starting on time, and we’ll adjust as we get more details,” he said. “Everything is pushed back so far now that difficult decisions will be made about whether a three-week football season is really worth it. Should we turn our attention to next fall? At least basketball doesn’t start until May.”
Football season remains in jeopardy because full-contact sports are on the governor’s banned list of activities; the Bulldogs’ powerhouse volleyball team might also be sidelined due to Lane County’s Covid-status being “extreme risk.” No indoor sports can be played under that designation.
The sports calendar, subject to adjustments, groups all sports into four seasons:
Season 1 (through Feb. 21): Practice for all sports. (At Creswell, fall sports have practiced on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays; spring sports on Tuesdays; and winter sports on Thursdays.)
Season 2 (Feb. 22-April 11): Cross country, soccer, volleyball and football.
Season 3 (April 5-May 23): Baseball, softball, golf, tennis, track and field
Season 4 (May 10-June 27): Basketball, swimming, wrestling
“Football hasn’t been pushed back yet, and we’re hoping new guidance comes out (soon). We’re considering a backup plan in case football moves to season three,” Standridge said.
While there’s been much discussion about sports events, Standridge said “sports are ahead of other extra-curricular activities because of the template already in place over summer.” He said he was strategizing now with band leaders Sandy Green and Mandy Hoggard.
While officials wait upon the OSAA, football coach Scott Worsham said it’s been a “blast” to see students again. Standridge said it’s clear “some kids have been staying fit and working out … body shapes have changed quite a bit. You could tell others were gasping for air. Some took it very seriously,” he said of off-season, individual workouts.
A key issue still to be decided: Spectators. “A lot of athletic directors prefer to not have fans at games if people can’t follow protocols. We’ve talked about being consistent as a league.”
Editor’s note: This story was changed to remove a quote from athletic director Brandon Standridge that was reviewed and determined to be out of context.