With a national health emergency grinding everything to a halt, Tri-Valley high school athletes are doing what it takes to stay fit while staying home.
In the height of the busiest sports season of the year, James Petersdorf, Livermore High School athletic director, reported he and his coaches remain in contact with their athletes through email and social media, offering virtual training and encouragement as though the shelter-in-place will truly end May 1. However, that deadline remains unclear, as officials continue to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“The biggest rub is that there are no answers right now,” he said. “If we knew there was a certain date, it would be easier to come up with strategies … Our coaches have created a type of prison workout, but we call it a garage workout. We started a plank challenge, which was 30 days of planking to get to five minutes.”
Athletes have been posting pictures of themselves working out to their social media sites, and coaches send regular links to online exercises to stay in shape. The impact on the sports competition calendar is heavy. Petersdorf listed a host of sports in season right now, from baseball and swimming to lacrosse and track, among others.
“Spring is their biggest season,” he said. “If we don’t get back, many of the kids won’t get the chance to compete … It’s tough because there’s no closure on stuff. They want to finish their fourth year, and in the great scheme of things, they’ll be fine, but it’s a bummer for sure.”
Livermore High’s varsity head coach, Jerem Stothers, coaches lacrosse and hopes the students can return for at least one more game.
“Most of the players that I have spoken to are having a tough time with structure in their life at this time,” Stothers said. “We use sports for structure, and often we use it as an escape from the daily grind of school,
family, homework, jobs. Being able to watch lacrosse at this time, especially film of themselves, offers a piece of that, (an) escape from the uncertain future.”
Patrick Gannon, Pleasanton Unified School District coordinator of community engagement, noted both Amador and Foothill high schools are participating in weekly calls with their regional athletic associations.
“Coaches are checking in with players through virtual conferencing and encouraging physical activity at home, whether it be through yoga, weights or other at-home exercise to remain active, as this is still very important for individual health and well-being,” Gannon said.
Over at Dublin High School, athletic director Tim Sbranti has even reached out to the California Interscholastic Federation North Coast Section – an organization serving student athletes – to see if final competitions can be extended, noting he didn’t want seniors to miss out on their last competitive season before leaving for college.
“That way we’ll have more opportunity to compete,” Sbranti said. “(All) the local athletic directors in the Tri Valley are committed to making that happen.”