FLUSHING — Athletes across the state received welcome news last Thursday when the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) gave the green light for football and other fall sports to resume this semester.
After initially postponing the football season in mid-August due to COVID-19 concerns, the MHSAA has approved the return of all fall sports, including football, boys’ soccer, swimming/diving and volleyball. The MHSAA’s decision hinged on a new executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, which cleared the way for “high-risk” sports like football and “moderate risk” sports like volleyball, soccer and swimming to begin competition.
Football season will officially kick off on Sept. 17 and 18 with a shortened six-game schedule for teams in all divisions. Boys’ soccer has been allowed to start immediately, while swimming/diving meets, and volleyball games were given approval to begin action yesterday.
At Flushing High School, the varsity, junior varsity and freshman football squads have resumed practices starting with helmets and shoulder pads only. The teams will be making full contact preparations for their upcoming games against Linden next week. Freshman and JV squads will play Sept. 17 at Linden, followed by the varsity team playing at home versus Linden on Sept. 18. at 7 p.m.
In regard to the shortened football season, all teams in the 11 and 8-player divisions will qualify for the playoffs and then advance through their usual postseason progressions, with 8-Player Finals wrapping up the weekend of Nov. 27-28 and 11-Player Finals concluding the weekend of Dec. 4-5.
Meanwhile, Flushing volleyball and Flushing’s swim and dive teams have gained access to indoor facilities and will be starting their competitions immediately. Flushing boys’ soccer kicked off its season with a road game against Lake Fenton yesterday.
Flushing High School Athletic Director Adam Smith said that the return of sports has helped to uplift the spirits of FHS student-athletes.
“My observations tell me that the kids are ecstatic to get back to competing,” he said. “Sports are extremely important to our kids and can often be the motivating tool that keeps them focused in the classroom.”
Smith said that Flushing will be closely following guidance from the MHSAA as its moves forward with competition this fall. As part of the MHSAA’s safety guidelines, athletes will be allowed to have two tickets to give to their parents for attendance at outdoor competitions like football and soccer.
Additionally, anyone who attends an FHS athletic competition will be expected to wear a mask the entire time.
“The coaches and kids are itching to get back to normal, and I believe this is a step in the right direction but only if we can do so safely,” Smith said. “I’m confident that parents and community members will be patient and understanding with the strict spectator guidelines as we transition back.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has recommended for all athletes to follow these guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus: Frequent hand washing; not letting players share towels, clothing, or other items they use to wipe their faces or hands; ensuring proper cleaning and disinfection of objects and equipment; and prioritizing outdoor practice.