May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

COMMENTARY: In challenging times, coaches lead the way for return of sports

CdM football coach Dan O’Shea watches his team prepare for a playoff game last season. (File photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

We had more encouraging updates last week about the possible return of high school sports in Orange County and throughout Southern California.

CIF Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod said during a CIF Council meeting Thursday that the plan developed in July remains and that some sports are still scheduled to begin in December with football planned for January 2021.

Wigod has asked for leadership from adults since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March and put a hault to all sports.

There have not been any high school sporting events since March.

“Our student athletes have been heard enough negativity and what they can’t do and what we’ve had to cancel or shutdown and I really want to compliment the adults and our leadership at our member high schools for the way you’ve approached this and the way you have delivered to come through for our student athletes and shown them the path of what we can do starting in mid-December if our health authorities are going to allow us to do it,” Wigod said Thursday.

From what we’ve seen, Wigod is getting plenty of help.

Through interviews we’ve been doing since March, we’ve been impressed by the leadership of coaches and athletic directors throughout Orange County.

All of a sudden, they’ve taken on new roles during unprecedented times.

CdM football coach Dan O’Shea is one of them. He’s regularly doing temperature checks for more than 150 football players, but not complaining.

“I check in 160 kids every day myself,” he said in an interview last week. “It is absolutely seamless and is worth every minute of my time to be able to see these young men smile and laugh.

“Let’s stop complaining about it and accept what it is and try to manage around it. These kids need it.”

Of course, there is still a lot that has to happen for high school sports to happen. The athletes are doing their share with hard work and dedication and we all have to do what we can to keep the case numbers down. Plus, health officials have to provide the OK for sports to return safely.

But preparation has to start with all safety precautions and the notion that sports will return in December. Athletic teams in the Santa Ana Unified School District have been given the OK this week to start their conditioning drills, another step forward.

Fingers crossed!

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com