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Posts Tagged ‘Covid-19’

That moment when you realize the only sports available to write about this fall will be slug races.

Counting today, there are 130 days left in 2020.

And that’s going to be a long, looooooong time with next to nothing to write about.

Which is why, effective early tomorrow morning (Tuesday, Aug. 25), I’m leaving social media and taking a sabbatical from Coupeville Sports.

I’m not removing the blog – all 7,898 articles I’ve published between Aug. 15, 2012 and now will still be here to read.

I’m just not going to add anything new, at least for awhile.

Mainly because there just isn’t going to be much to talk about.

With the COVID-19 pandemic rollin’ on, one of the few guarantees we have is that there won’t be any prep sports played until Jan., 2021.

And even that comes with a really big caveat.

We know there won’t be a fall sports season.

Though, unlike last spring, there still is a chance those teams will play, just not until sometime in March.

Maybe…

If things go perfectly, high school basketball will lead the return, with the start of practice the final week of Dec., and the opening games of a pared-down season dropping the first week of Jan.

Unless the influenza season gets nasty and combines with COVID to create a less-than-perfect storm, at which point we may be on hold for some time.

Basketball may get shoved back.

The season may get bumped.

Or we may just not see prep sports at all during the entire 2020-2021 school year.

No one knows. And if they tell you they do, they really don’t.

So, for someone who writes a blog focused largely on high school and middle school sports in a small town, the future looks increasingly barren.

Tack on the fact I have always lived by the credo of “Publish Every Day,” having averaged 3+ articles a day for the last eight years, and life will be extremely frustrating for me.

Case in point, this weekend.

I published four articles Thursday — two about sports, one about our ferry system, and one extremely well-read one about murder most foul — then had nothing to write about Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Or today, for that matter.

There is nothing ahead on the schedule. Nothing.

No games. No practices. No new hires. Nothing. Nada. Less than zilch.

I can spend a lot of time being frustrated, and resort to sprinkling in non-sports stories, then spend more time marinating in the soul-sucking hell that is social media, or I can take a break.

I have other writing projects I can go work on, and freed from having to be on Facebook and Twitter, I can get away from the cesspool.

So, I’m out.

Like I said, the blog will still be here, and we’ll see how things play out.

If prep sports return in 2021, I may be back. Or not.

Place your bets accordingly.

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CMS athletes like Lyla Stuurmans could be back in action in January. (Corinn Parker photo)

Middle school sports have not been forgotten about.

As Washington state (and the world) deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, prep sports have been massively disrupted, with the loss of spring and summer seasons, and a push-back to any games during the upcoming school year.

Athletic directors, league officials, and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association worked on creating opportunities for high school students first, but now they’ve turned their efforts to middle school as well.

As expected, middle school athletic programs will follow the lead of their high school counterparts, with no games until Jan., 2021, at the earliest.

Middle school athletes will not be totally sidelined until then, however.

The current plan offered by the WIAA will allow for an “open coaching season” from Sept. 28-Nov. 29, with this being available to middle and high school athletes.

Practices will be held after school (2:30-on), even if students are still in online learning and not in-person education, and will be posted on the Coupeville School District’s Tandem calendar.

High school sports are currently set to begin actual competition with basketball up first. Practice would begin the last week of December, with the opening games the first week of January.

With middle school sports, it’s still very much a work in progress, said CHS/CMS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

The hope is for CMS teams to also begin play in January, but no schedules have been drafted yet.

That’s largely because only two schools in the Cascade Middle School League — Coupeville and South Whidbey — are in counties which have reached Phase 3 in the state’s reopening plan.

Granite Falls, Sultan, King’s, Northshore Christian, and Lakewood all are in counties currently in Phase 2.

“This is why we aren’t publishing any schedules, because we don’t know where the majority of our league will be in January,” Smith said. “We are hopeful that all will be in at least Phase 3.”

Of the sports CMS plays, boys soccer, volleyball, track and field, and cross country are considered Phase 3 sports, while girls and boys basketball require Phase 4.

If some sports can be played, but it requires moving seasons around to do so, that opens up other questions for the league athletic directors.

“When planning the seasons, it’s important to note that we have to look at gender equity, facilities, transportation, and officials availability,” Smith said.

If and when middle school teams are allowed to play, the Cascade League plans to have each season be comprised of two weeks of practice, and three weeks of games.

The WIAA and the sports medicine group it works with plans to waive the practice requirements, but league AD’s don’t agree.

“We didn’t feel it would be in the athletes best interest, either on a safety or a mental/physical preparedness level to follow those guidelines,” Smith said.

Though current WIAA plans call for high school teams to compete through the end of June, the Cascade League wants to wrap middle school sports by the end of May.

“This aligns with the ability of our middle school students and families to be able to focus on the last month of school, rather than extend the sports year all the way to the end of June as high school is being proposed to do,” Smith said.

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The Mukilteo/Clinton ferry run returns to two-boat weekend service starting this Saturday, Aug. 22.

The move, announced Thursday, ends a two-month period in which only one vessel was in operation on the busiest travel days of each week.

Also getting a second boat back on weekends is the Edmonds/Kingston run.

Both routes have been operating with just one boat on weekends since June 20, due to “a lack of crewmembers needed to meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements.”

In a press release, Washington State Ferries said “more than 100 high-risk WSF vessel and terminal employees have been unavailable due to the (COVID-19) pandemic.

“In addition, new hires were unable to undergo mandatory face-to-face training until June.”

The ferry system has been able to add 16 new crewmembers and 10 terminal attendants in the past month.

“We’re now at a point that we can incrementally increase service and are working to restore sailings on additional routes in the weeks ahead,” said WSF Director of Operations Greg Faust.

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The Circumnavigate Whidbey fundraiser is still going on in the age of coronavirus, but everyone will stay further apart than in this pic from last year. (Photo courtesy James Steller)

Through rain, wind, or COVID-19, they go on.

“Circumnavigate Whidbey,” a fundraiser for Coupeville students, is still a go in the age of coronavirus, but this year’s event will operate with an emphasis on social distancing.

This is the fourth go-round for the event, which has previously raised $60,000+ for the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools.

The money pulled in goes to support “teacher grants for educational enrichment, college scholarships, and financial resources for students in need to equally access activities and learning opportunities.”

With the payoff being such a positive one, the participants wanted to make sure and keep the event going, said organizer James Steller.

“2020 has been a year like no other – but we are bound and determined to do all we can for our community.”

The event will go off Sept. 5, with parents and supporters teaming up to pull off a 160-mile circumnavigation of Whidbey Island, each volunteer doing a separate section by running, riding a bike, or taking to the waters.

Steller will be joined (at a proper distance) by Andrew Wyman in Central Whidbey, while Pat O’Hara will be busy on the North end of the Island, and Neil Rixe will be getting after things down South.

Korianne Emerson and Alysha Best will be out on the water.

While they have a solid group, Steller and Co. are always on the outlook for more to join the effort.

If you’re athletic and interested, drop him an email at jsteller@hotmail.com.

The goal for this year is to raise at least $20,000, and there’s already a donor who has pledged to match every dollar donated to the campaign.

There’s also a sweet lil’ side prize being offered.

For every $100 you donate, you will get an entry into a raffle for a two-night stay for two people at the Ocean Bluff Farm guesthouse in Coupeville.

The winner will be announced at the conclusion of the event.

For much more info on what the foundation does, the circumnavigation event, and how to donate, pop over to:

https://www.4coupevilleschools.org/

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Izzy Wells snags a rebound during the last high school game played by CHS before COVID-19 shut things down. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Six months down. Five to go?

Well, it’s a yes to the former, a maybe to the latter.

Tuesday – August 11, 2020 – marks six full months since the last time a Coupeville High School athletic team played an officially sanctioned game in any sport.

Way back on Feb. 11, the Wolf girls basketball team fell beneath a hail of three-point bombs put up by visiting Meridian, and was ushered out of the district playoffs after absorbing its second loss in as many nights.

That brought a close to a strong 12-7 campaign for CHS, playing its first season under new coach Scott Fox.

With nine of 13 players who scored during the season eligible to return, plus supernova sophomore Ja’Kenya Hoskins, who was injured the whole year, the future was, and is, a bright one.

At the time, the sadness of a season ending was muted by the knowledge most of the Wolf players would roll on into spring sports, returning to softball fields, tennis courts, or track ovals.

When the last stragglers exited the gym the night of Feb. 11, they had no way of knowing what was coming, or, what was probably already lingering in the air.

The rise of COVID-19, the moment when it went from being a whisper to a full-blown pandemic, was still around the corner, and no one knew the shutdown of sports was on its way.

Now, as we sit six months down the road, we know Wolf athletes never got a chance to play that spring sports season.

And, we know that after a summer in which traditional activities like little league were left by the wayside, there will be no fall high school sports season.

The good news is that fall, unlike spring, is not being outright cancelled, but instead moved, with sports such as football and volleyball hopping from September starts to March beginnings.

The hope, put forth by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, is that high school sports will return at the start of 2021, with basketball picking up where it left off.

Right now, practices are set to start the last week of December, with a compressed season, in which schools can play 70% of a normal schedule, beginning in January.

Then, if things hold, fall sports occupy March and April, and spring sports return in May and June.

But, as we know, COVID-19 operates as it chooses to operate, and not how we might like it to, meaning nothing is set in stone.

This week, though, we note the six-month anniversary of high school sports being AWOL in Coupeville.

I say “note,” because “celebrate” is probably not the right word.

Instead of being mad, though, we can look back to that last game and remember the highlights, of what was, and what can be again.

Facing off with an ultra-aggressive, very-successful Meridian squad which made it all the way to state, Coupeville had to dig out of a hole all night long.

Which doesn’t mean the Wolves didn’t have their spotlight moments.

Midway through the second quarter, sparked by a steal and bucket from senior Scout Smith, CHS went on a 10-4 surge.

During that run, underclassmen Anya Leavell, Carolyn Lhamon, and Maddie Georges all scored, with Smith setting up Leavell on a note-perfect pass slipped between backpedaling defenders.

Then, late in the game, popular Wolf senior Tia Wurzrainer, celebrating her birthday, pulled up on the move and hit nothing but net on the final jump shot of her stellar prep hoops career.

That sent Coupeville fans into a tizzy in what would be, for now, the final great explosion by Wolf faithful at a high school sports event.

The six months since have been far quieter, and there is no doubt, far lonelier for many.

But the future is unwritten.

Just as we didn’t know that night that things would take a turn for the worse, some day we may look back at today and say, hey, this was where it all began to turn around.

So, I say, stay positive. Look forward. Continue to work.

There will be a day where, once again, Wolf athletes will play, Coupeville fans will be in the stands, and life will be back in a more-familiar rhythm.

None of us know how many hours, days, or months that will be.

But it will be. That I know.

 

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