According to the original schedule that was generated during the 2019-20 school year, South Pasadena High School was slated to meet San Marino last Friday night in a varsity football game that was the annual rivalry match and the Titans’ homecoming all rolled into one.
Instead, next Monday, the Tigers are scheduled to hold their initial in-person practice session of the season, the first since SPHS closed its doors on the ominous date of Friday, March 13, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“I am excited at the prospect of having kids back on campus,” exclaimed Anthony Chan, South Pasadena High School’s athletic director.
Don’t let the semi-abandoned condition of the campus fool you. Chan has been more than occupied with the task of choreographing Monday’s restart, which will include athletes from the sports now designated as belonging to “Season 1,” which include cross country, football, volleyball and water polo.
On Monday, July 20, the California Interscholastic Federation announced its updated schedule for the 2020-21 school year that retained all previous sports but employs a two-season format that is scheduled to begin in December. The CIF’s new calendar postponed the beginning of the traditional fall season — Season 1 — to that month, with several sports being shuffled between seasons. The revised calendar sets the last day for regional or state football playoffs as April 17. The last day for all other rescheduled Season 1 sports will be sometime between March 20 and April 17. Winter sports, such as basketball, will be woven into spring sports, with regional or state playoffs ending June 19 with those offerings now designated as Season 2.
The typical athletic year contains three individual seasons, but the CIF chose to reduce the number to two and move some of the individual sports to accommodate the new arrangement. Season 1 will now include football, field hockey, gymnastics, boys’ and girls’ volleyball, and boys’ and girls’ water polo.
The Season 2 lineup will feature baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, badminton, boys’ and girls’ golf, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ tennis, boys’ and girls’ swimming, boys’ and girls’ track and field and boys’ and girls’ wrestling. Season 2 will begin in March.
Along with re-shuffling the schedules due to this reorganization, Chan has been tasked with providing a safe environment at which to welcome students back to campus. Under the guidelines, all training and conditioning will take place outdoors, will require masks and will assemble in pods of no more than 12 athletes. Students must complete a physical and clearances before attending in-person training, a standard requirement. Students will be required to complete a health screening every day before training begins, and ball use for all sports will be limited. All guidelines are in accordance with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, National Federation of State High School Associations and CIF, according to Chan.
“Safety will be paramount, clearly our highest priority,” Chan added.
All SPHS athletics facilities will remain closed to the community and outside organizations at all times in accordance with county guidelines, Superintendent Geoff Yantz said in a statement.
SPHS’ first game is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 5, a girls’ volleyball game pitting the Tigers against Whittier Christian. The Tigers’ football season kicks off on Friday, Jan. 8, when South Pasadena travels to Viewpoint at 7 p.m.
Prognostication is unpredictable, particularly in the COVID era, and Chan chose to rightfully focus on the present.
“It is an exciting time and a great opportunity to come back to training and conditioning,” said Chan. “There is no guarantee as far as games are concerned, but the kids can get in shape. It is also important for their overall wellness.”
Chan encouraged participants to get their necessary athletic clearances and physical exams completed as soon as possible.