Commentary: Nothing’s perfect, but at least we have sports


Baseball and football in the same week is just part of pandemic scheduling

So on Wednesday we watched a high school baseball game on a glorious early spring day.

On Friday, we will watch the end of high school football season.

And I’m still blown away that I just wrote those two sentences.

A year ago, schools shut down for six weeks. 

There was talk then that spring sports would resume.

Once that did not happen, the focus turned to September, and how to schedule competition in the first season of the academic year.

Yep, we know what happened in this state. 

Next was the possible start of winter sports practice at the end of December. 

And nope.

I don’t need hindsight to say high school sports should have started in September. We all witnessed other states participate. It wasn’t the call of athletic directors in the area. It wasn’t even the call of the WIAA. This was a call by the state.

Once the state relaxed its restrictions, then it was up to the ADs to figure out a way to play.

Which is why we have baseball, softball, and track and field this week, along with football and volleyball. Oh, and we have boys soccer and girls soccer. 

It’s anarchy!

It’s madness!

It’s … it’s … well, it is imperfectly fine.

The small schools (Class 2A and 1A) started spring sports last week. The big schools (Class 4A and 3A) are still wrapping up fall sports. 

Soon enough, it will be even crazier.

Nick Alder slides safely back to first base Wednesday during Columbia River’s win over Hockinson. Photo by Mike Schultz
Nick Alder slides safely back to first base Wednesday during Columbia River’s win over Hockinson. Photo by Mike Schultz

Spring Break is next week, and when 4A and 3A student-athletes return on April 12, they will start practice for spring and winter sports. Both seasons will be held at the same time.

The 2A and 1A student athletes, however, will still be doing spring sports then. The winter sports won’t start until later in the academic year.

Say what?

That’s right. The big schools opted for a longer “fall” sports season and then a longer season for winter and spring sports. The two-season approach for three sports seasons.

More contests is good, right? Of course, multi-sport athletes might have issues. Technically, this year an athlete can play a winter and a spring sport during the same season, provided the athlete works out details with the coaches, but it might mean an athlete picks one sport over another.

The bigger schools do have more athletes, which made it easier to come up with that plan.

The small schools, however, did not want, or maybe couldn’t afford, to allow multi-sport athletes to choose. Some programs might not have had enough athletes to field a team if some athletes picked one sport over another.

So the small schools went with three different seasons. Changed the order around, of course, to help deal with pandemic regulations. The indoor winter sports will be played last.

Sam Boyle of Columbia River delivers a pitch Wednesday. The Class 2A and 1A schools have already started spring sports, while the 4A and 3A schools are still finishing fall sports. All part of pandemic scheduling. Photo by Mike Schultz
Sam Boyle of Columbia River delivers a pitch Wednesday. The Class 2A and 1A schools have already started spring sports, while the 4A and 3A schools are still finishing fall sports. All part of pandemic scheduling. Photo by Mike Schultz

The athletic directors have had many critics with these decisions. Don’t look for me to pile on them, though. 

Here’s what I’ve witnessed since February:
Cross country runners making the most of racing in the winter; epic football games; sensational soccer matchups; golfers adjusting to the calendar; and so much more. 

The small schools have started spring sports. Track and field meets were all over Clark County on Wednesday. Basketball is coming soon in the big schools, too. Same with wrestling.

Just a couple months ago, there was hardly any hope that this would be happening. 

Sure, watching high school baseball and football in the same week makes my brain lock. There is no muscle memory for this. 

But it’s sports. And every sport is scheduled to get a chance at a season, some sort of season.

For that, area athletic directors should be getting our appreciation.

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