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December 11, 2018
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Bad air quality cancels sports

By: Gil Lemmon
November 23, 2018

DIF is currently facing one of the most challenging championship seasons of our 105-year history. For the most part, year in and year out, the championship season arrives with excitement, hope and high expectations, proceeds with little interruption and champions are crowned in the glory of achievement and cheers of their supporters. We take it for granted and each year the championship season repeats itself.

This year is obviously much different. Due to environmental events beyond our control, our contests have been disrupted, postponed, in many cases multiple times and in three championships, NCS Team Tennis and boys and girls Open Water Polo, ended with no champion. This disruption has caused NCS staff to work 10 times harder to re-schedule, keep schools informed, find new venues, arrange for new site management and attend to the many behind the scenes details to conduct a first class championship, as well as carry on other responsibilities not related to championships. School coaches, athletics directors and families are working tirelessly to make new arrangements, adjust daily schedules, affected just as much.

Schools, coaches, student-athletes, officials, spectators, parents and yes, NCS are frustrated. Everyone is on edge. We are not used to the discomfort of not knowing, delays and the fear of the unknown have a way of making all feel very uneasy.

However, let us not forget that the NCS Championships are contests, not life and death. Let us not forget that over 79 people in the community of Paradise and surrounding communities lost their lives with hundreds missing and thousands lost their homes and have been uprooted to other areas of California or even other states all in an instant. Many Northern Section student-athletes have lost the opportunity to participate in any post-season high school championship event. Within our own section we have many who can identify with what people in Northern California (Northern Section) are going through, since it was just within the last two years that several NCS communities experienced the same.

As we move forward in the coming days and weeks, let us rejoice in how blessed we are, how lucky that our only complaint is delay of our opportunities to experience a NCS Championship contest. Some have already taken place, even yesterday, but more than likely more delays will occur. There will be more challenges, but we will get through this difficult time.

Thank you for your patience. Thank you to our coaches and administrators that are working so hard to provide the very best experience for our student-athletes. Our programs are envied by the world. Let’s be grateful for how much we have. Hang in there!

Gil Lemmon is Commissioner of Athletics of the North Coast Section.