Despite a drenching rain shower, a small group of Clatskanie Middle/High School and Rainier Jr/Sr High School girls soccer team players gathered for a limited sports conditioning workout at Clatskanie City Park on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
CMHS Athletic Director Ryan Tompkins said the school’s sports and activities teams have been idled since the pandemic began in March and state health safety restrictions were ordered. Tompkins said the coaches and players are excited with the new school year to at least have the opportunity for limited sports activities.
“The big part of having the sports practices is about physical and mental health for all of our kids,” he said. “It’s the ability to do some activities with each, even though they can’t physically be with each other in school. That’s a huge part of it. It’s not about winning games, or matches, it is just about interacting with each other. Humans are meant to be around each other and not in isolation.”
Tompkins said he is hopeful that in-class instruction and a return to full sports will resume soon, but he cautioned that it won’t be rushed.
“We are all kind of getting used to this comprehensive Distance Learning online,” he said. “We’re starting to work out all the kinks. Our attendance schoolwide is at 93%, so kids are showing up for their online classes. We aren’t going to rush to in-person activities. We want to wait until things are safe. Once we go back, we want to be back for good.”
Tompkins is closer to the issue than one might realize. He has a first and third grader at home dealing with the Distance Learning.
“I am excited as a parent to get to bring those students back,” he said.
CMHS senior Lilly Booth is one of the soccer team players. She said the student isolation through Distance Learning has been challenging.
“I am being as active by myself as I can,” she said. “It’s been a lot about learning self-motivation and learning to play for just the love of the game. When you can’t be around your teammates or your coaches it is really about what you enjoy about this sport and finding out what makes you happy.”
“Yes, you really have to be motivated to do it on your own,” CMHS junior and soccer player Grace Tallman said. “It is hard sometimes, but it is definitely doable. You do definitely miss your teammates, that’s why these limited practices are so exciting for us all.”
The combined girls soccer team is comprised of approximately 20 students and the team is part of the COWAPA League 4A.
Tompkins said the Clatskanie School District has created much stricter health safety guidelines than the state and the OSAA, due to the pandemic.
“We are keeping kids in cohort groups of no more than 10, requiring face coverings if less than six feet apart and checking symptoms,” he said. “Prior to practice, we are not permitting sharing of equipment and we are sanitizing equipment.”
Before the practice on Wednesday, Tompkins addressed the small student gathering with a welcome and a detailed review of all of the district health and safety protocols.
Follow Clatskanie and Rainier student sports at thechiefnews.com and in the Friday print editions of The Chief.