High School Students Reminded: No Team Activities During Blackout Period
Whatever else Berkshire County high school students do to fill their time while school is out of session the next two weeks, they will not be holding informal practices for spring sports -- not if their schools have anything to say about it.
Several athletic directors throughout the county this week reminded their communities that formal or informal team activities -- including so-called "captains' practices" are prohibited before the start of the spring season.
As of now, that start -- originally scheduled for Monday, March 16 -- has been pushed back until at least March 30 by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Pittsfield/Taconic A.D. Jim Abel was one of the first to start spreading the word. On Friday, one day after the MIAA announced the two-week delay, Abel sent his community a lengthy email that included the following admonition, partially in all caps:
"ZERO STUDENT ACTIVITIES SHALL TAKE PLACE FROM NOW UNTIL MARCH 30. ZERO FORMAL, OR INFORMAL, TEAM ACTIVITIES SHALL BE ORGANIZED FROM NOW UNTIL MARCH 30," Abel wrote.
"This includes fall, winter, and spring teams (practices, tryouts, workouts, "Captain's Practices", off-season conditioning, post-season banquets, team weight-lifting, etc. are prohibited)."
When asked how the schools could prevent a few kids from getting together at a public park and playing catch, Abel admitted that would be difficult.
"There’s not much we, as a school district, can do about that - but the message to the coaches was basically, 'If the kids choose to get together at a local batting cage or park, we can’t dictate that. But we can dictate that no coaches should be present, or be involved in organizing, expecting , or mandating it,' " Abel replied.
Athletic directors from Lenox, Monument Mountain, Mount Greylcok and Wahconah each confirmed that they are sending similar messages to the student-athletes at their schools.