I think I first realized it about 10:20 a.m. last Sunday.
The crisp breeze. The long shadows. The declining amount of tourists ahead of me at the stop light.
Everything added up to one thing – it felt like autumn.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the Tahoe-Truckee High School athletic schedule. Four of the six fall teams (boys’ and girls’ soccer, girls’ golf and volleyball) will make their debut this weekend. Only two teams, the football and cross-country squads, don’t have an official game (or meet) scheduled, although the football team has a scrimmage set to begin at noon tomorrow at home against Lassen and Live Oak high schools.
H H H
The Wolverines’ fall athletic season of 1996 and the New Year’s Day Flood both had something in common – you won’t see something like it again for another century. Last fall, TTHS claimed undefeated boys’ and girls’ soccer teams and was the AAA state champion in football. But I think it would be unfair to expect the teams to romp through their schedules once again this year. Each team will be competitive, but there’s going to be occaisional losses here and there this season.
While an unblemished record may be what each team is striving for now, I don’t think a few losses would be all that bad for the Wolverine teams. There’s nothing more boring than an uncompetitive league; I honestly believe that the Wolverine coaches would trade all of those 13-0 soccer blowouts that occurred last season for a few close, competitive losses this season.
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I realize that teams want to get in as many tournaments and non-league games as is legally possible to prepare for the league season, but if the fall high school season gets any longer, it’s going to rival the National Hockey League in terms of length.
My opinion – at least reserve the games for after Labor Day, when school has officially started.
(Concentrating solely on athletic games. Not attending class. Practicing twice a day. There’s plenty of time for the Wolverine student -athletes to do that – while they’re in college.)
As for the athletic advantage that might be gained by those schools who begin their school year before Labor Day – it’s no big deal. A few more early-season practices, a scrimmage here and a non-league game there are not going to separate one team from another at the state championship.
After all, you don’t see one student pointing at another saying, “He got a higher SAT score than I did because he started algebra a week earlier than I did.”
Want proof that an early school-year start doesn’t necessarily lead to additional state championships. Just look at Incline High School.
Erick Studenicka is the sports writer for the Sierra Sun.
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