PLAY BALL!!!

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On the Mark By D. Mark Mitchell

Gov. Kay Ivey opened up athletics last Thursday in an afternoon press conference alongside Alabama Department of Health leader, Dr. Scott Harris. Ivey told Alabamians she was happy with our response to her “Safer at Home” guidelines. The governor basically said, each of us must make smart decisions every day and it is up to us keep following social distancing and pay attention to our health. If you have underlying health issues, it’s best to stay away from places that would increase your chances of becoming ill.

As for athletics, Ivey said all athletics, including youth sports could begin on May 22. Teams are allowed to start practicing, working out, conditioning and strength training and can play games June 15.

Locally, Mayor Gary Fuller was pleased with the new order and happy that children can play sports.

West Ridge Park, Floral Park and other parks run by the City are open. Everyone must continue to follow guidelines set forth by the ALDH.

The Opelika Parks and Recreation opened registration for Tee-ball, Softball, Dixie Boys Baseball, Soccer and other activities earlier this week.

DIXIE BOYS BASEBALL

Registration is opened for Dixie Boys Baseball (ages 13-14-15), anyone interested in playing should register at the Opelika Sportsplex. The final day to register is June 2. The cost is $45 per player living in the Opelika city limits and $50 for non-residents. The registration fee includes your jersey and cap.

The league is opened to any child in our surrounding area, including Beauregard, Beulah, Valley and Smiths Station to name a few. There will be no evaluations and all players will be placed on a team. If you have questions or need further info, contact D.Mark Mitchell 4-787-1514 or foxonthemark@yahoo.com or Missy Martin at 34-705-5560.

OPELIKA BOYS BASKETBALL COACHING SEARCH UNDERWAY

There is official word from OCS concerning the search for a new head basketball coach. However, On the Mark’ radio show, on Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, has learned the administration has a list of potential candidates. Interviews started last week, which included candidate’s coaches with and without head coaching experience. One candidate may have decided to not to interview, pulling his name out of consideration.

The job was posted online May 22, stating that Opelika is looking for a head basketball coach and if interested contact AD Mike Pugh. I have no idea if they have a specific target date to name a coach. It is unusual for schools to comment on coaching searches. Former head coach John Wadsworth resigned after accepting the being hired as assistant head coach at Enterprise High School. Wadsworth ironically replaced Mike Pugh after a short stint as OHS head coach. Wadsworth was the head coach 14 years.

AHSAA ALLOWS ATHLETIC ALLOW ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES JUNE 1

The Alabama High School Athletic Association will open athletics activities for member schools on June 1.

Prior to any student/athlete participating, they must have current physical, 2020-21 Consent Release and Concussion form on file. Schools may accept 2019-20 physicals until the first Fall practice date. All new athletes must have up-to-date physical on file. Each school is responsible for implementing all guidelines set by the AHSAA. Teams are allowed to use the same facility with social distancing and must wear facial covering if closer than six feet. Only coaches, school personnel, athletic trainers and should student athletes should be present. All equipment and surfaces, including weights, benches, balls, bats, helmets, gloves and other items should be cleaned after each group activity.

AHSAA bylaws will not allow mandatory summer practices, but weight lifting, conditioning, individual skill development and workouts are under the jurisdiction of the local school.

The AHSAA sent out the above information along with many other guidelines that must be followed.

Topics include Screening, Physical Distancing, Face Coverings, Hygiene and Weight Room Guidelines.

These guidelines can be found at AHSAA.com.

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