By now everyone across the globe is living in a world dominated by COVID-19. There are, however, glimpses of hope that burst through and recently that included both the IHSAA and the IGHSAU announcing potential updates spring sports schedules.
The potential start date of spring sports is set for May 1 pending any further set-backs. Even with that potential start date set, there are still more uncharted waters to wade through. That is especially true for activities directors who have quite the tough task ahead of them.
“We’re all in the same boat here and there are so many questions yet to be answered,” said DC-G activities director Brent Buttjer. “We’ll be following the guidelines set by the IHSAA and IGHSAU but we’ll have to walk that fine line of trying to push for a May 1 start date while still being aware of the health situation.”
Following the health guidelines by the CDC and the state high school sports governing bodies are matched only by the pursuit to keep student-athletes healthy. While the potential of a salvaged spring sports season brings a lot of excitement to the table, caution still must be taken which can be quite difficult.
“Of course we’d love to get back to normal and get the spring sports season underway but we still have to operate under the guidelines given to us from the IHSAA and the IGHSAU,” began Van Meter activities director Rick Roberts. “Things are so fluid yet that it’s hard to make a solid decision.”
Having said that, the work of a high school athletic director is still far from over. While they have to use the hope for the best and plan for the worst scenario, a lot of AD’s hold as much positivity as possible as noted by Waukee Activities Director Jim Duea with regards to the school and spring sports seasons being pushed back.
“I look at it as it gives us hope,” began Duea. “Obviously we don’t want to put out athletes in unsafe conditions but by not just canceling everything and holding out hope is a positive thing.”
Along with having a positive yet realistic outlook, activities directors do have to toe the line between proper preparation and going too far with all the surrounding question marks. Should the spring sports seasons make a comeback, there will undoubtedly be frenzied waters to swim through with all the coinciding events. It will be a juggling act that will involve a lot of moving parts very quickly.
“Ideally we’d like to see our spring sports season start on May 1st,” began ADM interim activities director Larry Mokelstad. “Our number one priority is to provide a safe environment for fans and athletes. I’ve corresponded with coaches and other AD’s, we’ll have a lot of things up in the air from rescheduling the conference track meet, rescheduling soccer meets, and how many golf meets can be fit in.”
Mokelstad also mentioned fitting in the annual home invites like the Hugh Norman Relays. That’s alongside trying to take a spread out conference soccer season and boiling it down into a limited time frame.
From there a domino effect occurs as for the first time ever, the spring sports season will directly coincide with the summer season like never before.
“Coaches are going to really have to get creative,” said Mokelstad. “We don’t want to put the kids in situations where they have to choose one sport over another. This is where we have to weigh conference activities more so over non-conference activities.”
No matter what the logo that dons the front of their clothing, activities directors across Dallas County have perhaps the most unique game of wait and see ahead of them. Should everything start according to plan, the race to get adequate sports seasons in would begin May 1.