Sports fans are uniquely attuned to color, but their fascination is typically limited to the hues of uniforms and other accoutrements of the games.
Most recently, four colors have emerged as holding primary importance for high school student-athletes, though the attraction has nothing to do with jersey tops or knee socks.
Rather, it’s the state of California’s four-tiered, color-coded system that tracks counties by the number of COVID-19 cases recorded each day and the percentage of positive cases out of the total number of tests administered, both averaged over seven days. With each sport assigned a colored tier that corresponds with the level of safety needed for competition, participants and family members are constantly checking for any progress in infection rates.
Tier 1, or Purple, indicates that the virus is widespread in the county — with more than seven cases per 100,000 residents or more than 8% of tests results reported positive over seven days. Tier 2, or Red, indicates “substantial” spread of the virus, Tier 3, Orange, indicates “moderate” spread, and Tier 4, Yellow, indicates “minimal” spread of the virus in the county.
With Los Angeles County currently in the Purple tier, here is a metric showing each Season 1 sport for South Pasadena High School student-athletes and the tier they must achieve to begin competition.
GIRLS’ AND BOYS’CROSS COUNTRY
Due to its mostly inherent nature of social distancing, cross-country is one of the few sports that is allowed to hold competitions while the county is in the purple tier. Anthony Chan, South Pasadena High School athletic director, says he believes this might happen sooner than later, though not necessarily in the form most are familiar.
“We are considering a format where each school would run a course individually and then we would come up with a team score based on individual times,” said Chan, referring to the method as a time-trial format. Another impediment is finding a facility of sufficient size, which might include a park or school. Rio Hondo League athletic directors might have agreed on Hahamongna Watershed Park, which is technically in Pasadena though is directly across the street from league member La Cañada High School.
The time-trial method format would require the services of an official timer and Chan says teams might be able to participate in the meet as soon as next week.
Coach Mike Parkinson has his runners ready to go as soon as the event is authorized.
To lessen the likelihood of the sport being canceled in consecutive seasons, the CIF took the proactive step of moving the sport from Season 1 to Season 2, which improves its prospects. The switch to Season 2 provides hope for any semblance of a normal season, and coach Ivy Chew will assuredly have the Tigers ready.
Chew actually got a break when boys’ volleyball was switched to Season 2, which allowed her to coach the girls’ team during Season 1. Unfortunately, time is running out for the sport, which would need to jump two spots into the Orange tier before competitions could begin.
Chan said her players are still holding their required training in pods and waiting to see what happens, though most feel a season is unlikely. Rio Hondo League officials will meet on Feb. 23 to discuss the prospects of the sport, and Chan says she is holding out hope that at least a one-round Rio Hondo League campaign can be salvaged.
To play any part of a football season, Los Angeles County must jump two tiers, from Purple to Orange — a hefty chore even under the best of circumstances. The benefit for football is that the season doesn’t end until April.
“The kids are still training three days a week, trying to keep the kids in shape and healthy,” Chan said. “But quite frankly, we are running out of time.”
The drawback for football is that there are additional and strict participation requirements involving conditioning and contact, and there also is a minimum number of days that must elapse between the end of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2, causing the clock to tick even faster.
The Rio Hondo League meeting on Feb. 23 will go a long way toward determining the future of Tigers football for the season.
GIRLS’ AND BOYS’ WATER POLO
Coach Michael Gonzales is holding workouts for both the boys’ and girls’ teams, but — like other sports in the Orange tier — time is not on the side of water polo though the athletes remain in game shape should the metric change.
“Again, we are hoping that we can have matches, but it’s very tough considering the sport is in the purple tier,” Chan said.
One positive note: Many water polo players are also members of the school’s swim team, which is part of the Season 2 sports season and classified in the mostly unrestrictive Purple tier.