School sports have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but many student-athletes and coaches still have hope that they will have a season.
Junior Makayla Wilson has been playing soccer almost all of her entire life, so this break from soccer has been difficult for her. Makayla has built her soccer reputation by playing like a beast on the field as some would describe and even winning an All-American award. She has been working towards the goals she has planned, and soccer will hopefully help her get there on a scholarship. Seattle University has shown an interest in recruiting Wilson for her amazing skills but it is important she keeps on practicing and getting out on the field to catch recruiters’ eyes.
“This is the year that colleges really start coming out and looking at players to participate on their schools’ soccer teams and that’s what I want,” said Wilson.
As a former captain of the Da Vinci Varsity Womens’ Soccer team, Makayla has made sure to keep her team, that she described as “sisters”, on track and help her teammates stay prepared for when the season actually does start. They have not met as a team due to the various COVID rules and restrictions, but are taking initiative to stay in shape.
Jeff Amaral, the Coach of the Boys’ Basketball team, has been preparing his team for a successful season in hope of getting back on the court by next year. CIF is the governing board that oversees all sports in Southern California. As they stay motivated and consistent, their positive mindset will get them to their future goals.
“According to the CIF, This year for sports, all coming after the new year on some sports you’re going to fall in January to March timeline and some will be a March to May and June timeline. The hope is that everybody will be able to play sports eventually,” Jeff Amaral said.
Boys’ and Girls’ basketball has been designated a spring season starting March 12 from what the CIF has told the coaches thus far. The Boys’ Basketball team has impressed the coaches with their hard work and commitment they have been putting into virtual conditioning. The coaches have been holding some Zoom meetings for workouts, but just the anticipation of the season and the preparation that goes along with it. Due to basketball being in indoor sport, it is difficult to meet because of Los Angeles County Rules, but the players are adapting with a positive attitude in these tough circumstances.
“We have a number of games lined up, so that when it does start and if it did, if we are allowed to start that we will be when you’re a part of a team,” Amaral said. “It’s a bigger power than yourself so when you’re a coach and when you’re a player you just look forward to those practices in games and, you know, some of the challenges that come along with it and obviously the highs of hopefully winning, but also just getting to know the guys and spending time with them on being coached for so long and players.”
The Cross Country team has stayed in communication with each other by training and has engaged many new runners through virtual meetings. These meetings act as a way for runners to stay distracted and have energetic activities to do in preparation for their season starting December 26th. Coach Tyler Mar has tried to keep a positive mindset when it comes to their eason and wants to do anything to prepare his team.
“We meet twice a week on Wednesdays in the afternoon. We do team building and go over the best practices or running techniques,” Mar said. “We’ve been having our athletes keep a running journal so they work in small groups and they talk about things that have been working for them in their own training because a lot of them are running on their own, and Fridays we host a team workout where we do strength training, and some conditioning.”
Although things may be going well through Zoom meetings, the team has been feeling overwhelmed with all the schoolwork they have and have felt unmotivated to join the Zoom calls since they look at the screen enough within the weekday. It is a different experience when doing things online because you don’t feel the motivation of being with your teammates.
“The team has been striving and has been persistent but the past week people told me that they just been feeling a little bit exhausted from Zoom, and so on top of all their schoolwork,” Mar said. “It was hard to also do sports that way.”
Vincent Bravo, the head of the sports department, is making sure Da Vinci athletes can perform their training at home since traditional conditioning is in violation of quarantine restrictions. When sports start, they don’t want any injuries related to physical inactivity. The school has been working with a UCLA Exos program that provides the school with training as well as resistance bands and dumbbells throughout the athletics program for students to have at home, and use them to do the online virtual conditioning with the coaches.
“So when they do the training at home, they’ll have resistance bands and they can use dumbbells or they can use a milk gallon filled with sand or water as a weight, you know, different things so that they don’t have to go out and buy expensive equipment,” Bravo said.
The Head of the Sports Department has been working with other athletic directors from different school districts like Environmental Charter Academy, Animo Leadership, El Segundo, Bishop Montgomery High, Hawthorne High, Lawndale High, people who know what they’re doing. They have consistently had meetings with the CIF and have been providing set dates for sports.
“Fall sports will be December 2020 through March 2021, the spring sports are from the end of February beginning of March through June of 2021. They had a meeting with their commissioners, and they had been asked by various school districts that they were going to change the calendar and all they said was no, this is the calendar for the 2021 school year,” Bravo said.
The only thing that’s not 100% determined is whether or not the sports are actually going to have an opportunity to play because that is governed by the guidelines coming to us from the LA County Department of Public Health. There will be no more than 10 people allowed per coach, a screening of the athletes and coaches when they arrive, then they do their exercise and before they leave, they will be screened again to make sure they’re not overheated. Social distancing by being six feet apart and wearing masks will be mandatory. Some of the sports are looking for ways to be compliant with the health guidelines for the health and safety of our students and staff.
“If you are interested in joining any sports team this year, tryouts, or practices contact the coach and then participate in any virtual fitness exercise conditioning program. If anyone is looking for information about athletics, go to the DaVinci schools website, press the athletics link and go to the athletics FAQ, and most of it’s there and if they’re interested in a specific sport, the coaches are listed,” Bravo said.