If the wisdom of Payson High School coaches and athletic director Dave Bradley is accurate, the next two weeks could prove crucial to the success of local athletes.
With preseason practices in football, volleyball, cross country and boys and girls soccer set to begin Aug. 12, it's extremely important that prospective players have qualifying paperwork taken care of early.
Those who do not will not be allowed to practice until they are cleared by the athletic director's office.
At the beginning of each school year, officials say, some athletes are lackadaisical about getting their physical exam, parent permission, and emergency medical information turned in.
And when they sit on the sidelines and watch practices while awaiting clearance from the AD, they fall behind in their skill development and mental preparation.
Once the season rolls around, they could find themselves playing the role of bench reserves.
That frustrating scenario, Bradley and coaches say, could have been avoided if the athletes were more timely in getting their paperwork completed and turned in.
The process is simple because the physical, insurance, parent permission and emergency medical information can be put on one form that is available in Bradley's office.
Athletes who had their physicals completed last spring when they were offered in Wilson Dome don't have to worry about making an appointment with the family doctor.
Those who didn't take advantage of that opportunity must schedule a doctor's appointment.
Physicals given prior to March 1, 2002 are not valid for this school year.
Once the paperwork is turned in to Bradley or his secretary Tammy Keller, athletes will be issued a qualifying "blue card." That card signals the coach that the athlete has been cleared to practice.
There is a fee to participate at PHS of $40 per sport. That fee cannot exceed $100 per athlete or family.
For more information, call Bradley at 474-2233.