By Tommy Smeltzer
Chaminade’s student-athletes have never been happier for those hot summer football workouts to be underway. After a lengthy prohibition of any athletic activity on campus, the CIF State office last week released guidelines for restarting athletic activities, and the Chaminade athletics department was ready for the green light. Coaches implemented optional summer training programs that allow students to prepare for the upcoming year of sports while employing all state, county, and local health and safety protocols. Social distancing is easily achieved on the Deep Blue C and on the adjacent baseball field as athletes spread out in smaller groups with plenty of space between them. The program is set up so that students remain with the same cohort in pods of 5-10 students to limit overall exposure.
As students arrive, they are greeted in their cars to receive temperature checks at the main entrance and must answer screening questions before being allowed on campus. Gone are communal water stations, as students now must bring their own water bottles to practice and must keep any backpacks or equipment separated in an area to the side of the field. Masks are worn during stretching and non-exertion skill drills, but athletes are allowed to work without masks during high exertion drills as long as distances are maintained. Partner stretches, passing, and contact drills are not allowed in Phase I.
“We are allowed to do about a third of what we would normally do,” said Coach Ed Croson, “But the important thing is that we are able to train individual skills and prepare our players for the rigor and collision that is unique to football, all while learning to comply with the guidelines.” The coach noted that this is a big adjustment for students, so we must reinforce the importance of taking safety protocols seriously, both on and off the field. While it is challenging to change habits, he assures us, “The kids are getting it down.”
Back on the Deep Blue C, groans of exertion emanate from the drills amid the summer heat. However, it is clear by the smiles and laughter after practice that these students are thrilled to reclaim a piece of life before quarantine and declare, “Eagle football is back!”