Dual-booked Palm Springs-area multi-sport athletes have a tough choice with new CIF-SS schedule

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When the CIF-SS announced on Monday that the three sports seasons of the 2020-21 high school calendar would be condensed into two, some multi-sport athletes found themselves at an impasse.

“My first reaction was that I wasn’t going to be able to get the three senior nights that I wanted and worked for,” said Myranda Jimenez, a future senior at Palm Springs High School who plays volleyball, water polo and softball at the university level. “Then I had to realize that I will have to choose between the sports I fell in love with, which would be a very difficult situation for me.”

In his case, volleyball and water polo will now both be played in the same season, from December to March.

Wilson Pinkstaff, a future senior at Rancho Mirage High School, plays college golf and basketball. This has never been a problem before with hoops in the winter and golf in the spring. From now on, both sports will be practiced in the spring.

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“I was heartbroken because at first I imagined having to choose between basketball and golf, and I love them both so much,” he said. “They shaped who I am.”

As this unprecedented school year unfolds, athletes like Jimenez and Pinkstaff may be out of luck. The CIF-SS has always allowed students to practice several sports in the same season, it just has to be agreed between the coaches and the player. It’s not something that happens very often, but it’s not forbidden.

But everything will be different this coming season, and coaches, sporting directors and parents will have to be flexible, and that will likely include many cases of players wanting to play two sports at the same time.

To their credit, the CIF-SS considered this dilemma and ensured that sports that are commonly paired by athletes would not be put in the same season. For example, water polo and swimming, cross country and track and field, football and basketball, volleyball and basketball, football and track and field: athletes who participate in these two sports will still be able to do so.

“We encourage all multi-sport athletes, and we want to see more multi-sport athletes, and we didn’t want to do anything that would take that away,” CIF-SS commissioner Rob Wigod said in a one-on-one. interview with Le Soleil du Désert. “Having said that, you can’t go from August to June and change it to December to June and expect everything to line up perfectly with no overlap.”

And Wigod reiterated the idea that playing two sports at the same time has always been allowed.

“That’s one thing that people don’t realize is that there’s no ban on playing two sports at the same time anyway,” Wigod said. “As an AD myself, I saw that. We had students playing basketball and football and baseball and track and field and different things like that that would happen. We hope that if the students want try it, coaches and students can work on it together and academics are supported and if the student is physically and mentally able to do it. Why not?”

He is right. In fact, there was an example in the desert last year when Madison Tremblay of Rancho Mirage played basketball and water polo simultaneously during the winter.

She said it was doable for her, especially with the cooperation of her coaches and parents, but it wasn’t easy.

“Playing basketball and water polo at the same time has definitely made me better able to manage my time and juggle multiple responsibilities,” said Tremblay, who graduated in June and will play college basketball this season. at Center College in Kentucky. “Sometimes I had two practices or games in one day and then extra homework. The biggest tip is to make sure you stay on top of things. Plan and work ahead to complete the homework. It’s easy to fall behind if you procrastinate.”

The fact that playing two sports in the same season was allowed was good news for Jimenez. She said she would definitely be interested in playing volleyball and water polo at the same time, before finishing her high school career on the softball field.

“I thought about doing both sports at the same time, but I wasn’t sure if that would be allowed. But now that I know it is, I would 100% rather do both sports at the same time than give it up. one,” she said.

And remember, these are athletes who in many cases — Jimenez and Pinkstaff included — already lost an athletic season to the pandemic in April.

“It was like one more kick in the stomach in all that was lost for us high schoolers,” said Pinkstaff, whose junior golf season was erased by the pandemic. “But I’ve already talked to my dad and my coach (Rob Hanmer who, ironically, is both Pinkstaff’s golf and basketball coach at Rancho Mirage) and they said that doing both sports was an option for me.”

Saying you want to play two sports simultaneously in high school and being able to do it are two different things.

Planning will be tricky with practices. There will certainly be occasional nights where athletes will play both sports and have to make a choice. And let’s not forget that the athlete would also have his normal amount of schoolwork.

Coaches, athletic directors and parents – “the adults” as Wigod calls them – will need to be more flexible and involved in the process this year to help student-athletes get creative with their time and availability.

Perhaps the leagues, which control the schedule, will get creative with what nights certain sports are played, perhaps using Saturdays more often to help reduce overload, not just for players, but also for coaches and referees.

“We’re going to have to think outside the box,” La Quinta athletic director Juan Ruiz said. “The right thing to do is find ways to avoid putting kids in a situation where they have to choose. It’s going to be difficult and there will be a lot of moving parts, but I’m confident we’ll find a way, even though it won’t always be perfect.”

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Like most athletes and coaches when the news broke on Monday, Jimenez and Pinkstaff were happy that none of their sports had been canceled. That was the good news.

“It feels overwhelming trying to get good grades in my senior year, balancing my health and trying to be 100% in basketball and golf in the same small window of time,” said Pinkstaff. “But I’m sure I’ll give it my all.”

Shad Powers is a columnist for The Desert Sun. Do you have an interesting sports history for him, or questions about the new high school sports calendar? Contact him at [email protected]

Two season package

Here are the regular season dates for all high school sports under the CIF-SS plan which divides sports into a “fall” and “spring” season:

FALL SPORTS

Cross-country skiing boys and girls: December 26-March 5

Soccer: January 8-March 12

Women’s volleyball: 19 Dec-Feb 20

Water polo boys: 21 Dec-Feb 20

Girls water polo: 28 Dec-Feb 27

SPRING SPORTS

Baseball: March 19-May 29

Boys and girls basketball: March 12-May 22

Golf boys and girls: March 20-May 29

Football boys and girls: February 27-May 8

Soft ball : March 19-May 29

Swimming boys and girls: March 13-May 22

Boys tennis: March 1-May 15

Girls tennis: February 22-May 8

Athletics boys and girls: March 20-May 29

Boys and girls wrestling: March 5-May 15

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