Payson High School football practices kicked of in earnest yesterday, July 29, but first-year coach Jake Swartwood wasn’t all smiles.
His antipathy was due to a coach’s nightmare — not many of the players had their physicals and required paperwork turned in to athletic director Don Heizer’s office, which would have allowed the young athletes to hit the ground running at yesterday’s opening session.
Without physicals and proper paperwork, athletes must sit on the sidelines and wait for doctors’ appointments, which can take days and weeks this time of year.
While waiting to get cleared to practice, athletes fall behind in conditioning, skills and knowledge.
That can mean by the time the first game rolls around, some players are riding the pine because they are not yet ready to contribute to the team efforts.
There have been instances in which that scenario has created friction between coaches and parents who mistakenly believe their son should be playing despite the fact he’s missed most of the pre-season practices.
It’s a sad scenario but it happens each and every year no matter how much coaches, school officials, and even this newspaper, prods players and parents to have the physicals done well before the season.
You can bet there’s plenty of old, retired, bald-headed football coaches running around that attribute their lack of a mop top to pulling their hair out because team candidates didn’t follow the Boy Scouts rule of “Be Prepared.”
Fall practices in the other sports of volleyball, soccer and cross country do not begin until Aug. 6 which gives players and parents time to have their participation requirements taken care of.
The annual Lady Longhorn Volleyball Alumni Tournament tips off at 6 p.m. Aug. 4 in Wilson Dome.
The fray usually turns into a “Blast from the Past” as former players return to their alma mater to see if they still have the right stuff to hold their own against current players.
This year, the tournament will give fans an opportunity to greet the alumni and obtain a sneak peak at the current crop of players including Kaitlyn Wessel, Megan Wessel, Shayna Neal, Emma Randall, McKenzie Creighton and Sydney Samuels.
Coach Arnold Stonebrink is extremely high on the group after a standout summer campaign and a second-place finish in the Payson Summer Invitational.
Stonebrink has invited all fans to turn out for the game to cheer on the faithful alumni as well as this season’s varsity members.
3 on 3 Basketball Tournament
Sponsored by the town, it will be played Aug. 4 at Julia Randall Elementary gym. The cost is $30 per team and play will be in six age divisions. Prizes will be awarded for the top team in each age division. Each team may have three members.
Register at the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism office at Green Valley Park.
Advance registration is recommended.