As the situation continues to improve, more sports on the South Pasadena High campus are getting the green light to practice and compete.
Anthony Chan, the school’s athletic director, announced on Thursday that both the football and water polo programs will start workouts as the numbers of coronavirus cases have lowered to a daily rate not exceeding 14 per 100,000 people, meeting state guidelines permitted for outdoor competitive play.
That’s welcome news to Chan, who is glad to see two more sports begin training in earnest for their respective seasons ahead. Both football and water polo can launch team efforts starting Friday, February 26, joining cross-country, which successfully held a meet last Tuesday on the road against La Cañada High.
“With new guidelines, the football program and water polo are able to compete,” said Chan in an email.
He noted that football season must end its season by April 16 and water polo by March 20.
“I am excited that more of our student-athletes are given an opportunity to compete,” Chan said, who witnessed the SPHS’s first competition in nearly a year when the Tigers won both the boys and girls’ varsity and boys and girls’ junior varsity races against La Cañada in cross country action this week.
“As we continue to reach a light at the end of the tunnel, please practice patience and understanding as we are constantly adjusting,” added Chan in a message to Tiger athletes. “I would also like to encourage our community to stay vigilant and to do their best in making sure the case numbers continue to decrease and to also get their vaccines when it is their phase.”
For those students who are now able to play due to new restrictions, “I am so happy for them,” said Chan. “Most of our programs have been working on Zoom from summer, and then through limited practices in November until now.”
As the numbers drop, the SPHS athletic director is hoping other sports will get the go-ahead to play. “Stay ready,” he urged, hoping it won’t be long before other teams finally get a chance to go up against teams after an 11-month wait.
“Everyone in this district and community is behind you in having a chance at competition,” Chan said to athletes.
“I know how excited people are,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, told the Los Angeles Times. “I would like to say I hear from many, many, many parents about their desire and need for their children to get back to play sports they love. I kow this is good news for so many, but I am going to temper that with let’s do it carefully. Some of the largest outbreaks we actually not associated with student or classroom activities but were associated with youth sports teams.”
Safety protocols, including the wearing of masks and social distancing will be the norm.
“So people have to follow the rules,” Ferrer added to the LA Times. “We think this can resume with a lot of safety, but then everybody has to play by those rules, and I think sports teams more than a lot of sectors are used to playing by the rules. I would urge everyone to look what is required to put in as much safety as possible so it doesn’t end up hurting us as we continue to try to drive down community transmission rates across the county.”