Here we are in the second week of November, supposedly just three weeks from the beginning of what will be the winter sports season for the local high schools.
Will it happen? There has not been anything released saying it won't happen, but then again there hasn't been anything confirming the start either. Appropriately for 2020, all the athletes and the coaches have been left hanging.
"Dec. 7 was the date we were given," Amador Valley football coach Danny Jones said. "We are all just working on how to transition out of the bubble we have been in."
"My thing is, we are continuing to prepare to play a season," added Foothill football coach Greg Haubner. "If we just sit around and not do a thing because we don't know what is going to happen and then a season starts, we would be way behind."
Both Haubner and Jones, as well as coaches for most other sports scheduled to begin in December, have been able to get in some work in "camps" at the schools for the respective sports.
Proper COVID protocol is being followed, meaning there is some practice time, but not really in a full, team-beneficial system. Still, some work is better than sitting around at home.
"I have been so proud of our guys," Haubner said. "They have been putting in the effort. They are asking the right questions about us having a season. And it can get frustrating, but we are working at keeping our minds right."
Jones echoed Haubner's sentiments.
"Our kids are resilient and have been very patient," Jones said. "We just control what we can control -- but it's definitely some weird times."
Foothill volleyball coach Dusty Collins has a unique situation as he coaches both the Falcons boys and girls teams. Normally, the girls are in the fall and the boys in the spring, but with the reconstruction of the 2020-21 high school sports season, both sports will be taking place in the winter. Collins has been able to work with both teams in their camps.
"I have four different groups that I bring in," Collins explained. "I have been working with the varsity-type groups, while my assistants work with the JV teams. We are allowed to have up to 16 people at a time, so we will have up to 15 players and one coach."
Collins and his staff keep the volleyballs separated by group, as well as wiping down the nets and supports after every event session.
While coaches are doing everything they can do to make things good for the student-athletes, the fact remains: No one knows for sure what is going to happen in just a few short weeks.
The biggest thing hanging in limbo is will the kids -- most notably the seniors -- be able to play this school year?
"I can't imagine, having played myself, having my senior season taken away," said Jones, a former Amador quarterback. "Not knowing what's going to happen is the worst part."
Collins was upfront with his athletes at the beginning.
"I told the kids right away: (the camps) might be the best we get so let's be thankful for it and make the most of it," Collins recalled.
So, will sports return this school year?
I believe the California Interscholastic Federation set the seasons and return date for each sport, then basically put the ball in the hands of local jurisdictions. It is a bit of a cop out, but at the same time, a smart one.
They can now wash their hands of the responsibility as to whether the kids get to play or not.
The decision will rest on the various counties, and even with recent openings locally, Alameda County has erred on the side of caution.
There has been talk of playing schools only from within your county, which would end any section or state playoffs, but it would still be playing.
"I would settle for a six-game season right now," Haubner said. "It would absolutely be better than nothing."
As far as the Pleasanton Unified School District is concerned, their hands are tied by Alameda County. Although with K-5 students planned to return to school Jan. 4 in a hybrid situation, it might bode well for sports.
Even if the teams get to play without spectators, it will be worth it.
"I think if you asked any of the kids if they would rather play in front of no one or not play, I think to a player, they would want to play," Collins said.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his "Pleasanton Preps" column, email [email protected]