It is summer time and prep sports come to an official halt during the summer months OK, there are summer activities for the athletes, but no official school vs. school games.
But this summer carries a different feel — one of anticipation. Barring a major pandemic setback, we are on pace for a normal fall season, something that was on the shelf this time last year.
I for one am extremely excited. Looking at the fall football schedules is already getting pumped for Friday night lights to return with the teams, the students in the stands, the cheerleaders pumping up the crowds and the band performing at halftime.
Pleasanton is blessed to have talented high school bands, making the halftime enjoyable, as opposed to what we didn’t see or hear during the spring football season.
You can feel the optimism even over the phone when talking with the coaches at Amador Valley and Foothill. There is no doubt about the difference between July 2021 and July 2020.
The idea that we know we are having a season is amazing,” Foothill coach Greg Haubner said. “It’s very exciting. Last year was so demoralizing — this year the kids are ready to get to work.”
Amador Valley coach Danny Jones agreed.
“It has been outstanding for the kids,” Jones said. “The kids have been working out in the afternoons and our numbers are good.”
There are a couple aspects of being a head coach that Haubner and Jones are dealing with this summer that are different from years in the past.
First, the time between seasons has diminished, with the spring football season giving them far less time to get things done during their offseason.
Usually, the coaches have six to seven months to get administrative work done for the program. Not now.
“This year we have one to two months to figure out schedules, whether we are going to have a freshman team, and if we do, finding them a schedule,” Haubner explained. “Ordering uniforms — all that stuff — has been compressed.”
Jones is feeling it as well.
“I had a little bit of a jump start as our season ended three weeks earlier than everyone else, but it still has been crazy,” Jones said. “You just have to embrace the chaos.”
With school and the football season starting in August, the time to go full bore is right around the corner.
You look at your checklist and you’ve got just a few weeks until we really get going,” explained Jones.
The other thing the coaches are dealing with more this summer are family vacations. After spending the last year cooped up in their homes, people are ready to go and get away.
My wife and I are feeling it and are very excited to get out and do stuff. Having raised seven kids, I can imagine what it would have been like to have a house full of kids during the pandemic with basically little or no escape.
“Unique this year is that everyone wants to go on vacation right now,” Haubner said. “I get it — I have a family and I want to take them on vacation as well. I have been strict with vacation plans in the past, but this year I totally understand it.”
“We got hit with the vacations early on,” Jones said. “But what are you going to do? I had parents asking if by going on vacation would their kid still be able to play. I was like — go, go to Hawaii, go where you want to go. I didn’t know what anxiety was, but I got it as well. I just told everyone after the Fourth of July break, let’s try to be more consistent (with attendance).”
It is great to see both Pleasanton programs happy to be back at it in earnest this summer, but also realizing that families need to do the family thing this summer.