It's September 12, 2020, and it has been the longest 6 months our of our lives. We are dealing with a Pandemic which had pretty much shut down the entire Country for several months. Though we are getting back to some scenes of normal, it's still not the same and we have no idea when or even if, things will every go back to "normal" again.
One of the many things that were effect where the Schools. They pretty much shut down in mid March and they are trying very had to open back up again, but dealing with this new reality very challenging. The Pandemic is not gone, its gotten better, but it's not gone completely so everyone still needs to keep that in the backs of our minds.
With the closure of schools that also meant all school sports were cancelled as well. The entire Class of 2020, not only did not have a normal graduation, those students that participated in school sports weren't able to have their spring season as well. This is something that effected the High school seniors the most. A lot of districts went above and beyond to give them some bits of normalcy as they could but it really wasn't the same.
So now here we sit, at the beginning of a new school year, trying to find our ways through this midfield of regulations and limitations. A lot of the districts throughout Long Island are working off of a Hybrid formula, where students are going into the school buildings on certain days then working remotely at home. I know that my own son, after coming home from his first day of in class learning could really only sum it up in now word, "SAD". Its his Senior year and it shouldn't be this way.
As of today, though, the state of NY has the lowest infection rate in the country and has been at this level for weeks now. Just about Every single NYer did what they were asked. We stayed home, we are using masks when we go out, so we have been successful in "Flattening the Curve" Which is how we are able to get our kids back into the schools. Yet there is still a big issue they are facing. School Sports are at a complete stand still.
In the State of NY there is a list of Organizations that we have to go through to get an ok for students to get back to play, one that I grapple with myself, but it's there and as of right now we have no choice but to deal with them. It starts with the NFHS (National Federation of High School Sports) then we go down to the State Level with the NYSPHSAA (New York Public High School Athletic Association) then you have your different Sections. In Suffolk County its Section XI and in Nassau County its Section viii. You then have your school districts, your School Superindentants, Athletic Directors, then we are finally down to the Coaches. Personally I feel this is just way to many hoops that have to be jumped through but none of it has every taken any notice until now. Until Student Athletes have to wait to hear from not only off of these organization but the CDC (the Center for Deiseas Control) The State Deptment of Health , and even the stat Governor. Its actually kind of crazy if you think about it. All these kids want to do is play sports. Which is where we find ourselves today.
Students want to play and though they may not have like how things were laid out, the Governor of the State Of NY gave us the Dates of the nthat could happen. He limited which sports can start but decided them into 3 different categories:(we are dealing with WINTER sports right now)
1. Low Risk :, which are Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Girls Swimming & Diving and Girls Tennis, (What actually happened to the Boys end of t hose sports is beyond me but...)
2. High Risk: which are Competitive Cheerleading, Football and Volleyball.(After poking around a bit I was able to find that the NFHS Considers Volleyball to be a low risk sport, but NYSPHSAA claims its a High Risk Sport. to which they can give no explanation)
Originally the Governor staled that Low Rise Sports (See above) can start Sept 21st. High Risk Sports (again see above) would be about to start practicing October (Maybe) but not play any competitive games.
NYSPHSAA Worked hard to find a way to create a season somewhere within the school year for the High Risk Sports to play. They created a Fall Season II around March and they were finalizing all the details but I was told that inevitable the final say was left up to the individual Sections.
We already knew that Nassau Counties section viii had canceled everything until January and not to soon after I spoke with Dr. Zayas myself, Suffolk County Section XI did the same thing.
So here we sit, angry and completely at a loss. You can do something though, you can start writing, emailing, and calling every single member of the Executive Board in your Section (you can find out who they are from their respected sections websites).
I am going to get the Podcast up and running, From the Bleachers, and I want to give our student a change to be heard. I will also be reaching out to as many of the members of the Executive Board for Section XI as well as members of NYSPHSAA. to see if they will get on the Podcast and answer some questions. Maybe we can at least hear what they say and try to understand why we are where we are.
If you are a Suffolk County Student Athlete, and want to get a change to speak, please reach out to me and we will arrange an interview. You can get a hold go me through the Website at
Til next time, keep your heads up, Hopefully there will be sports this school year.