Gidal Kaiser column sig

Game on, for now. With girl’s golf practice Friday, the Indiana High School Athletic Association kicked off what it hopes will be a no-frills re-entry into full-fledged high school sports.

Myriad guidelines are expected, as outlined by an event attendance protocol sent out by Twin Lakes Athletic Director Kent Adams earlier this week.

“We are excited to be able to welcome students, coaches, staff, support personnel and fans back to TLHS as we begin the 2020-21 school year,” the release states.

“In accordance with the CDC, ISDH, IDOE, IHSAA and Gov. (Eric) Holcomb’s recent mandates” there are several guidelines in order to attend Twin Lakes or Roosevelt Middle School activities. While no other White County school has released information as of Friday afternoon, it is a safe bet these mandates cover pretty much most schools under IHSAA purview.

Facial coverings are required while in attendance at all contests, whether they are cloth masks, face screens or facial shields. Social distancing must be observed when facial coverings are removed for eating or drinking, or if one cannot wear a covering for medical reasons.

There will be a limited capacity number on restroom usage, and concession items will be pre-packaged when concession stands are open for business.

Football contests will have some additional on-field guidelines.

The largest one, area-wise, is a shift in how players are on the sidelines. For this season, team boxes will extend to an 80-yard range, for reserve players to space out. Teams normally stay within the 25-yard lines.

The email also suggests, “that you consider not having any non-game personnel on the sidelines. That would include school administrators, media and all others non-participants.”

It will be interesting to see how adaptation unfolds. Twin Lakes athletes — at least the football team, from what I’ve gathered — are selling masks, which is obviously a helpful way to deal with the current situation, in my opinion.

If you have watched as professional sports have returned, there is a bit of an outline. Yes, it’s hard to break out of the high-fives, body and or chest bumps, giving dap, or those types of celebratory moments. And by definition, there will be some form of contact in every sport, whether in football or golf, soccer or tennis.

But instances give me hope: Elbow bumps are becoming a small thing, like fist bumps or chest bumps once were. Making sure players on benches keep masks on will be paramount.

Professional athletes have spaced themselves out in bench areas, and the IHSAA’s football spacing guidelines make me hopefully there are also ones set up for soccer and volleyball benches. But that’s just a hope.

In the handful of workouts I’ve observed since Phase I began or consistent chatting with coaches, I’ve heard the relative phrase “it’s good/great to be back” — well, I can’t tell how many times. Society is looking for a form of normalcy, a form of how things were, and every millisecond of every day seems to be a reminder everyone loves the past.

Which is great. Pandemic or not, we all look back on our pasts relatively fondly. But, in my opinion, we also have to pay attention to the present or the future will be affected.