Delayed winter sports season draws mixed reactions

Steve Smith
ssmith@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/14/20

Reaction to last week’s news of a delayed winter prep sports season fell along the expected lines. In consultation with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, CHSAA delayed the start of …

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Delayed winter sports season draws mixed reactions

Posted

Reaction to last week’s news of a delayed winter prep sports season fell along the expected lines.

In consultation with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, CHSAA delayed the start of the so-called “Season B”  to Feb. 1 at the earliest. Practices are due to begin Jan. 25.

In some circles, online parents demanded accountability from the Colorado High School Activities Association and warned of an increase in interest in club sports, while coaches were disappointed.

“People are allowed to pack planes, box stores and grocery stores, but healthy young people can’t play sports,” said Lucas Dunker of Frederick. “Makes no sense at all. Kids aren’t dying from Covid. They’re dying of isolation.”

Eagle Ridge Academy girls basketball coach Keith Casey got straight to the point.

“I can put it like this. I want this year done,” he said. “We went from being able to do open gyms to nothing. Now our season is rescheduled again.  I truly understand. COVID-19 is no joke. But as a competitor, it hits you a different way.”

Casey, as do other coaches, has seniors on his team aiming for scholarships. Others enter a delayed season knowing this is their last chance to play competitive basketball.

“It hurts. Probably the biggest part that is hard to understand is the unknown, not being able to explain to your players what we should look for next,” Casey said. “That’s the hardest part about all of this. I have young players really really excited about playing Lady Warriors ball. But the obvious question I’m going to get is, ‘Coach, are we  coming back?’

“But I don’t have an answer.”

Fort Lupton boys basketball coach Jim Roedel was disappointed at the delay but happy there wasn’t an outright cancellation.

“I am still happy that we are working to find a way to have a season,” he said. “I do think that no matter when we start back, we are going to be dealing with COVID cases and guidelines and. So I would rather get things going sooner than later, even if without fans because our kids are suffering from the loss of all the activities and outlets that sports and school provide.”

Roedel said club ball continued through last month.

“And you could see the difference it was making in our kids’ well-being,” he said. “They genuinely were excited to be in the gym and working out. It provided them with a renewed appreciation for the game, and they cherished and seemed to be working harder than ever.” 

Riverdale Ridge boys basketball coach Byron Gray wasn’t surprised.

“The delay also gives us a little more time to properly prepare without jumping straight into games,” he said. “Our hope is that the state levels will go down allowing for more time in January to actually prepare on the court. In the meantime, we will continue

to take advantage of this opportunity for our student-athletes to study the game further and enhance their mental game.”

Fort Lupton wrestling coach Tom Galicia was disappointed.

“The kids were looking forward  to having the season start up,” he said. “Coaches are hoping for the next best thing and glad that it was not canceled, just postponed. We look forward to getting our wrestling season started and completed, like some of the football games.”

Adams City girls basketball coach James Rogers realized it was for the safety of the student-athletes.

“My concern is are we going to be able to keep the kids engaged and keep the kids around if we keep pushing the season back. Are they going to want to play?” he asked. “They let the fall season go and finish out, so hopefully for these kids’ sake, they let these winter sports at least get a chance. The delay really doesn’t bother me. I just hope that it gets to happen.”

Brighton High School boys basketball coach Rolando Davila called it a “tough, challenging situation for everyone.”

“I’m grateful we received some information and, as of now, have a full week of practices before we can play the first game instead of just a few days,” he said. “And hopefully, by Jan. 25, all students will be able to be in schools again, if they and their parents choose. Because to me, getting all kids safely back in the buildings is the most important thing.”

BHS girls basketball coach Jim French said this was not an easy situation for anyone.

“However, we also know that the entire season could easily be cancelled altogether,” he said  “We want to do whatever we can to be prepared. “But without contact, it is unknown if our student-athletes will be physically ready to compete.  This increases my concern for health, safety and potential injuries.  I will remain engaged with the players abiding by all restrictions to be a positive influence mentally and emotionally.   

“One moment, one day at a time,” he added. “Control the controllables.” 

Eagle Ridge Academy’s girls basketball coach, Jay Powell, said the delay could give everyone a better chance to have a basketball season.

“Being that all of the gyms are currently closed nobody is able to practice. I’m hopeful that this gives us and other schools a chance to get some quality practice in before the season starts,” he said.

“I personally choose to acknowledge that while still appreciating the fact that everyone involved is doing the best they can at what they have control over,” Davila said.

Frederick High School boys basketball coach Enoch Miller was disappointed but understood that “CHSAA’s hands are tied.”

“They must have a variance approved before beginning indoor sports or our respective seasons could be shut down at any moment,” Miller said.

“ I expect that this is not a ‘no’ but a, wait; therefore, we must be patient and stay positive.”

Prairie View boys basketball coach Damien Romero said players need something normal in their lives.  

“Competing on the court would give them that,” he said. “I understand the health concerns, having had COVID. I wouldn’t want any player catching it or spreading it to their household. It was awful. But there has to be some way or variance that other states are using to allow it back in the gym.”

“At the end of the day our tryouts are only pushed back 21 days, so I fully expect to get our seven-week season played,” Miller said. “Safety is our No. 1 priority, but if we can play while doing it safely, then we absolutely should, in my opinion.”

“The rescheduling is making it hard, not knowing if we will have a season for these players,” Casey said. “It seems the more we reschedule, the more likely that we will not have a season. At this point, it’s almost like we need to decide whether we’re going to cancel the season and get ready for next year.  We need to stop giving these kids hope when it’s probably not going to happen.”

“I know my team will be ready and prepared whenever the season happens,” Roedel said. “I appreciate that CHSAA is trying to keep our season and everyone’s season intact.” 

“It’s unfortunate we are in this situation after almost a year,” Romero said. “Hopefully, we can get a better handle on the virus and start getting back to normal.”

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