With a new potential return date to school set as May 11, middle school athletics director Akay Mustafa is working on a plan that will set spring sports into action as soon as students return.
Although the season would not have any games against other schools due to the lack of time left in the year, teams would still be formed and coaches would adopt a more intramural and developmental structure to the practices. “This return date rules out having a normal competitive season, so it means that we can’t have tryouts. It means we can’t fulfill LSSA fixtures. So we would shift to an intramural model,” said Mr Mustafa.
In the time that students have been out of school, Mr Mustafa has worked with the coaches of each sport to post home workout videos that will keep athletes fit during the quarantine. “We have a home sports section, which gets updated every two weeks,” he said. This is helpful to many athletes like eighth-grader Ryan Cushman, who said, “Because school sports have been canceled, and all school sports practices have been canceled…, I feel that I have gotten a lot rustier and that my sports skills aren’t up to the level they used to be.”
Mr Mustafa, is aware that if students return May 11, it would be a testing period for both the high school and middle school. This would cause possible time conflicts, and when asked what the timeline for sports would be if we return May 11, Mr Mustafa said “We will have to be flexible around that [testing periods]. “We’re also mindful that there’s going to be an AP situation for high school; we’re also mindful of potential tests that need to be taken for middle school.” But the athletics department is willing to “fit in around it, and mold what we offer.”
But what the athletics department offers may not be our usual spring sports. If there aren’t enough signups for a sport, Mr Mustafa said that inviting sixth-graders to play with the older middle schoolers could be an alternative, or new sports may be incorporated into the spring season such as volleyball or badminton.
These new sports will also bring along a new practice schedule. Mr Mustafa said, “We’ll probably send some form of a basic sign up to see how many people actually want to play the sport. And then we divide them across all the sports. Now, based on numbers, it may mean we can go twice a week, but if we have a high volume and a high level of interest, it may mean we have to go once a week to allow everyone to take part.”
However, with the possibility of the return date being pushed even further back, the athletics department also has plans for a shorter season. This two to three week season’s main priority would be more oriented on the social side rather than the athletic side. “I think as the athletic department, we focus on the social piece, because you guys have been away from your friends for so long, we’d like you to move around and interact,” Mr Mustafa said.