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Where has the summer gone?

May 13, 2008 - Dan Voigt
In a conversation with a coach the other day, the topic of the accelerated seasons for sports in our schools came up. As you may or may not know, the state governing bodies for girls and boys athletics moved the seasons up by roughly twoo weeks this school year, originally with the stated goal of allowing the winter sports seasons to be able to continue to hold their championships at the Wells Fargo Arena facilities in Des Moines. Officials of Des Moines and Iowa State University worked out a plan to bid for hosting various National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament events at Wells Fargo, and low and behold, the NCAA tournament dates were right on top of high school athletic dates. So, it was determined to be able to do all this, move the high school dates up a week or so on the calendar. This was done for the first time in 2008, so our state wrestling tournament was held on Valentines weekend. Basketball tournament for the girls were at the end of February, messing with the old March blizzards for tourney time, and the boys tournaments were done before St. Pat's. Track season began in late March, and with all this global warming, we only got about two-thirds of the normal amount of track meets in this Spring, due to rainouts, snow and cold weather. The same held true with golf. But, here we are, the middle of May, and the state track and field championships are this weekend - which happens to be graduation weekend for most of the high schools in the state. The golf tournament series is underway, and that season ends two days after Memorial Day. However, baseball begins next week - a full week to 10 days earlier than last year, and if memory serves me correctly, the state baseball tournament is played like the second week in July. The same is pretty much true for softball. In this case, the overall consideration for moving these seasons up was simple - "to give the kids a summer vacation", according to a coach on a talk-radio show over the weekend. Now, that strikes me as being a little crazy. In many of our sports, the student athletes are encouraged to work on their own time, the year around, to work out, condition, attend camps and the like. Now, if we want these kids to work all the time like this, then when are they getting their vacations? It seems to me to be a double-edged sword, or the old, don't do as I do, do as I say.


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