For thousands of high school students all across the province, the chance to renew old acquaintances and make a new ones is not the only reason to eagerly anticipate the start of a new school year.
These students know full well that when school bells start to ring, officials’ whistles will sound soon after to herald in a new athletic season.
Just five days into the school year, physical education program leaders are required to formalize their school’s intentions to participate in fall sports such as cross-country running, girls basketball and flag football, girls and boys golf and boys baseball, football and volleyball.
It’s an extremely quick turnaround, to say the least. This information is compiled and sent to conveners, who, in the fall season, have less than 24 hours to develop draft schedules for coaches to vet at their respective fall sport pre-season meetings, which this year are scheduled for Sept. 11.
For junior and senior boys football, this confirmation and vetting process has already taken place, with the senior loop kicking off Thursday night — more information on that below.
Schedules will be posted to the online game centre for high school sports: www.sdssaa.ca. Here, one can find schedules, game scores and standings for team sports, as well as important updates for individual sports. Visitors to sdssaa.ca can sign up for automatic updates via email, text or twitter to stay right on top of the action. A second website, sdssaa.rainbowschools.ca, is used to post all other supporting information and documents, including championship summaries, forms, rules and calendar updates.
For the students, there are competitive aspects and a select few advance beyond local levels each season to be sure, but make no mistake, the reason a majority of teens participate in school sports is that it is fun. It’s fun to make new friends, it’s fun to improve, it’s fun to be fit, it’s fun to win.
To this end, and with a nod to the appreciation of the myriad of benefits that accrue for youth through participation in any sporting activity, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity, on behalf of the Sudbury District Secondary Schools’ Athletic Association, to extend a huge thank-you to the hundreds of coaches and staff liaisons that will step up to take on a school team this school year. Your efforts will be remembered for a lifetime.
Welcome to another year of exciting high school sports.
The Wrap this Week
Cross-country will be the first sport to get underway with their first preliminary race taking place on the Naughton Trails Wednesday at 3 p.m. Coaches will gather for the cross-country pre-season meeting to be hosted immediately thereafter, 5 p.m. at Lo-Ellen Park, Room 208. Among the agenda items: OFSAA cross-country, which will be hosted at Kivi Park, Nov. 1st-2. More on this in the weeks to come.
Not to be outdone, the senior boys football league kicks off next week with three intriguing matchups at James Jerome, including Notre-Dame against St. Charles (Thursday, 7 p.m.), St. Benedict versus Lively (Friday, 4:30 p.m.) and Lo-Ellen against Confederation (Friday, 8 p.m.). The question on everyone’s minds will be if Lively will be able to three-peat as senior playoff champs, a feat not seen since St. Charles managed it back in the 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons. I’m sure That Sudbury Sports Guy will have plenty to offer on this topic with his annual prognostications, to be released next week.
The week of Sept. 16 will herald in the opening of girls basketball, boys volleyball, girls flag football and boys junior football seasons, while SDSSAA golf features its championship event on Sept. 19.
Dave Makela is the athletic administrator for the Sudbury District Secondary Schools Athletic Association. This is his first column of the 2019-20 high school sports season.