With much of our work and social lives taking place in front of a screen these days, many kids and parents have been searching for outlets that allow for safe physical and social activities.
For many, the fall sports camps offered through the Islander Sports Foundation at the Coronado Middle School (CMS), have provided a welcome break from the constant screen time, providing exercise as well as the opportunity to safely socialize.
Kristen Guymon, parent of both a Village Elementary fourh grader and a CMS seventh grader, took on the position of CMS Athletic Director (AD) in May, after the departure of former AD Meredith Hinz. Taking on any new job, even in the best of times, can be a challenge, but during a world- wide pandemic and a shut-down, creating safe activities that meet the state and county guidelines adds yet another hurdle in what might be described as an ever-changing obstacle course.
Guymon remarked that, because middle school sports are under the umbrella of the Islander Sports Foundation rather than CIF, both Sacred Heart and Christ Church students may participate in the sports offered at CMS. As with the current camps offered at Coronado High School (CHS), all coaches and students must operate under the guidelines set forth by the county, maintaining safe distance, wearing masks, and regularly applying hand sanitizer.
As there are at present no contact activities yet permitted by the county, Guymon comments that rather than scrimmaging and playing games against other local middle schools, the camps are currently operating in intramural squads and clubs, with something available for almost every interested student. Current activities include the standard sports such as baseball, softball, volleyball, golf, tennis, and running, plus bicycle clubs, a recreational sports club and a sports performance enhancement club, with every activity held outdoors.
With all activities, since no games may be played, coaches are focusing on conditioning, drills and skill development. Each sport or activity operates with cohorts of 12 people, with each sported allotted two days per week on their field or court of play.
Baseball has one of the largest groups of players. With 32, they’re divided into 3 groups, and, under the tutelage of current CHS baseball coach Morgan Cummins, some athletes are working on the field with catching and throwing drills, while the remaining players are in the batting cages, honing their hitting skills.
In order to provide activities that meet the needs of the middle schoolers, interesting new offerings this “season” are a running club, coached by CMS parent Abby Lund, recreational sports, (think kickball and wiffle ball), coached by Village Elementary PE aide Andre Murphy, and a bicycle club, led by Hollands’ Bicycle employee Tyler Kelly. The cyclists meet near Bradley Field, and, while the students are developing their riding abilities, they’re also learning important aspects of the cycling world, like changing tires, reattaching chains, and understand the different required skills for the different types of cycling.
With the winter sports season looming, Guymon notes that they are still in what she refers to as planning mode. With so much uncertainty surrounding any educational and extracurricular activities, flexibility is essential.
With the season slated to begin the week following Thanksgiving, Guymon indicates that there are, out of necessity, two plans. The first, and most hopeful, would have the middle school athletes playing games against local opponents from other schools within their leagues, in the more traditional sports such as basketball, flag football, and possibly rugby. Recognizing that things change quickly and often dramatically, having a backup plan is important, and Guymon notes that if things don’t work out to allow competition with other school districts, middle school sports will continue with the current schedule, which, while perhaps not ideal, will at least provide student athletes with physical activity and at least some level of socialization and the concept of what it’s like to be on a team.
Parents and students interested in signing up or learning more can go directly to the ISF website, www.islandersportsfoundation.com