High school spring sports teams in California are hoping for a chance to play again in 2020. At this point, to see those hopes realized will require a variety of changes to the schedule — on the league and section level.
For Big Bear High School’s teams, which include boys golf, softball, baseball and track, the best case scenario is to push those CIF playoffs into June and allow leagues to play a modified schedule. That’s what Big Bear boys golf coach Chris Leong would like to see.
“We’d love to play,” Leong said. The Bears haven’t officially played a match yet, after two matches were canceled in March along with the first two league cluster meets. “We’ve been told (May 1) is when we might be able to go back.”
CIF playoffs in boys golf were supposed to begin May 11 for individual regional tournaments. CIF team tournaments were set for May 18. The CIF State Championship is June 3.
Senior Ryan Flanders said he is hanging in there, keeping in golf shape by doing some putting. He, too, hopes the season will start again after everyone gets to go back to school. “I hope they do push things back,” Flanders said.
“This is a bigger picture than I want to look at,” said Big Bear track coach Ron Perkins. “It’s just sad. This is the best boys team we’ve every had at Big Bear.”
Senior hurdler Anthony Forrest has faced challenges before. It isn’t easy being at the top of your sport without a track, but he started the season as the athlete to beat. And his success has gotten him noticed. Forrest recently signed a letter of intent to run hurdles at Southeast Missouri State in college. Forrest would prefer to see the season extended, not just for the league and section championships. His goal is to compete at the state meet. He feels sad for his teammates, too.
“We definitely have a crazy good team,” Forrest said. “And the new guys, the freshmen, they were just getting passionate about track.”
The CIF softball playoffs are set for early May, which would leave no time to restart the season for league competition unless the playoffs are pushed back to late May or June. “I hope we can get at least one round of league in, so the season’s not just done,” said Big Bear head softball coach Mary Schermer. “I hope, if anything, we get in a game for our seniors. It sucks if they aren’t able to get their last game.”
Senior Justyne Coyle said she and her teammates keep in touch via text and FaceTime. “I try to keep their spirits up,” Coyle said. “But I’m kind of just hoping that everyone out there in the community is OK. As for softball, hopefully we can still play, the team has a lot of potential.”
Big Bear head baseball coach Mike Benson said he doesn’t know what will ultimately happen to the high school spring sports season. “There are a lot of schools already calling it a year,” Benson said. “The best-case scenario is that our seniors get to participate in at least one home game.”
Big Bear baseball and softball teams typically don’t begin playing home games until April. All of their 2020 games so far have been on the road. Benson said other hopes would be to see the (Cross Valley) league modify its season so they can crown a champion, and hope the CIF pushes back the playoffs.
“Are (the best case scenarios) real?” Benson asked. “Probably not. It’s too early to tell at this point. What I’d like to see is for us to be able to at least have a senior day home game.”
Senior Jordan Randle said he has been in touch with the rest of the baseball team since school was closed. “It’s difficult for a lot of us to have the season to go on pause the way it did,” Randle said. “We were really enjoying the season, and really coming together as a team. We’re still sticking together, but it’s not the same.”
The CIF Southern Section office remains closed through Friday,
March 27. No decision on the spring sports season is expected to be made before March 30 at the earliest. A decision may not be made until after the CIF State federated council meeting on April 3.
“I do hope they give us a chance to play,” Coyle said. “We’d like a chance to show we wanted it and worked hard for the season, to show what we’re made of.”
No decision has been made yet regarding Cross Valley League seasons, said Big Bear athletic director Dave Griffiths.
“CIF wanted to wait a couple of weeks and see what develops, and that was a good call,” Griffiths said. “There’s nothing new right now.”
Griffiths said he has proposed to other Cross Valley League schools the possibility of a modified league schedule if the students go back to the classroom, even if CIF decides to cancel the playoffs.
“Athletics is a big part of the kids’ lives,” Griffiths said. “It’s important to have a little bit of closure for the kids. It’s something we will have to cross the bridge when we come to it.”
But ultimately, Griffiths said, sports is just a game. “The most important thing right now is people staying healthy and safe,” Griffiths said.
He remains optimistic that Big Bear’s spring sports teams will be able to have that closure. “I think we have some ideas that hopefully we can come back to some semblance of normalcy,” Griffiths said.