Patrick Walsh’s quest to return high school athletics to the fields and courts took a step up in the media world — which just so happened to coincide with my report about Walsh’s Golden State HS Football Coaches Community that appeared in Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Journal.
Tuesday morning, both the Serra head football coach and coaching colleague Justin Alumbaugh of De La Salle, Walsh’s alma mater, were on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac Show,” discussing the coaches’ attempt to present health officials with more data that might persuade them to let youth sports return to the state.
Walsh — who founded GSHSFCC as a way for coaches to come together to strategize how to gain the attention of health officials — wants to get his information, ultimately, into the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“We would love to provide this data to Gov. Newsom,” Walsh said on KNBR.
While both coaches were adamant that they believe bringing youth sports back can be done safely, they both agreed that they want to do it when the time is right.
“I hate the misnomer that we’re just a bunch of meatheads out there. We’re just trying to get out there, trying to win a football game, or something like that. … We would never do that. We don’t want anyone getting sick,” Alumbaugh said. “We are not trying to do something unsafe. We are not trying to go rogue.”
Meanwhile, there were thousands of high school basketball games being played around the country Tuesday night. There were 20 states that reported their scores to the Associated Press, which posts the lists on the AP website.
I counted all those games. I also counted games that were postponed, canceled or forfeited — some states listed those, while others were not reported. Whether they were simply omitted or there were no games canceled, I don’t know. I’m just going with the numbers.
I also don’t know why games were canceled, postponed or forfeited — but it can be safely assumed that many were because of COVID-19 issues.
In those 20 states, a total of 2,015 games were reported being played, while just 139 were not. That is 93% percent of games played. If you want to take out the states that did not report any games missing, the number of games played is still 1,616 games and a 92 completion percentage.
Those percentages are in line with the data Walsh has compiled, which he said shows that 95% of football games were played as schedule during the fall around the country.
A deeper dive into the basketball numbers show the degree of cancelations differ wildly. In Kansas, for instance, 152 high school games were played Tuesday night, with just two cancelations. In Kentucky, on the other hand, there were 99 games played, but 24 canceled.
I don’t know what the virus protocol is in these states and their gymnasiums, but the number of games canceled is minuscule compared to the number of games played.
“There are very, very, very low incidences (of infection from playing) is what we’re learning from our data,” Walsh told KNBR’s Brian Murphy.
Wednesday, I drove by a shopping center near the Daily Journal offices and if you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was business as usual given how full the parking lot was. If it’s safe to go shopping, how is it not safe to play games?
“The major question is this,” Walsh told me during an interview Monday. “Is it safe to play youth sports in the state, including football? … We believe we have the data to prove that (it is).”
While the college recruitment process has definitely changed with the pandemic, it’s not preventing high school athletes from being accepted to play at the next level as a half dozen Menlo School athletes announced their college plans.
Addie Ahlstrom, the two-time reigning Daily Journal Girls’ Tennis Player of the Year, will continue her career at Brown University. Joining her in the Ivy League are basketball player Avery Lee and cross country runner Calvin Katz, who will both be attending Yale.
Connor MacMitchell, a standout for the Menlo boys’ water polo team, will be head to UC San Diego. Volleyball player Roxy Karrer will play at Johns Hopkins, while Stella El-Fishawy will play soccer at University of Chicago.
Meanwhile, Luther College-Iowa became the second school to offer South City’s Luis Bernardino to play football.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117.