Athletes can begin limited summer workouts June 8
MABANK–After Governor Greg Abbott announced more plans to open businesses in Texas, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) has given coaches and athletes the go-ahead to carefully proceed with extracurricular activities beginning June 8.
Many high school coaches and athletes are thrilled and exhilarated to begin getting back to “normal” for the time being as they get together for the first time since March 12.
In a statement released after Abbott’s announcement, the UIL stated, “UIL is aware of Governor Abbott’s May 18 announcement and is actively working with appropriate state officials to allow schools to begin limited summer strength and conditioning and marching band activities on June 8, 2020. As soon as the details of that plan are finalized, UIL will release them to schools to allow time to plan and prepare for bringing students back to campus for these purposes.”
Many coaches, including incoming Eustace Bulldogs Head Football Coach Monty Leaf, are excited to get more in-person communication with athletes that he hasn’t had the chance to meet yet.
“Any first-year coach faces challenges with trying to build relationships at a new school,” Leaf said. “I am a believer that you have to earn that respect and works toward building that relationship. The biggest challenge has been trying to maintain contact. I had some of their numbers and some of their Twitter handles, but was still in the process of gathering all the information when we got shut down. I have been doing my best to try and call, text, direct message our athletes. We also created a Google classroom and have done a character development course the past 6 weeks through Google meet. Every coach is in the same boat so it is our job to do the best we can and try to be the example for our athletes. Complaining will get you nowhere.”
Leaf also said that words don’t even comprehend what the feeling will be like to be back with athletes and staff to begin working toward building their program.
“I cannot wait! Excited doesn’t do it justice. When June 8 gets here, we will be ready. We will have a plan. We will train our athletes and begin building those relationships that are essential to getting our program started.”
In a world of unknowns, especially when students will return to school in-person and what the “new normal” may look like, Leaf believes this is a step in the right direction of getting things back on track in the fall.
“I think this is the next step,” Leaf said. “We have to start being around each other again. Begin the process of seeing if the social distancing guidelines worked and easing back into a normal routine. I don’t see a scenario where you don’t have football, but at the same time we do want our athletes and the community to feel safe. Bottom line, we want what is best for our students and in my humble opinion I believe being involved again with teammates, coaches, teachers and community is what is best for the development of young adults.”
Leaf says a big difference will be actually being with the athletes instead of being in contact with them virtually or through different messaging applications. He hopes though that current athletes won’t take athletic opportunities and other activities for granted once they return.
“There is no replacement for being together,” Leaf stated. “The bond you begin to build, the drive that you achieve when you see your teammate next to you pushing for that extra or next rep… can’t replace it. However, what I hope this did was also show our athletes that there are no guarantees, that being around each other should never be taken for granted. We have pushed workouts to our athletes via the Rack App using Performance Course as our training partners. I know our athletes that have done the workouts will have benefited from it, but in the end, we just cannot wait to start the process of building the Bulldog athletic program for 2020-2021.”
The UIL will announce sometime before June 8 what the guidelines for summer workouts will look like for coaching staffs and athletes.