Swine flu stalls sports
May 1, 2009
Not all school kids were cheering when school was cancelled Thursday as a result of possible swine-flu cases in Park City.
With most teams headed for or beginning the postseason, this is a bad week for any postponed or canceled games.
Thursday alone, Park City High School had to cancel eight scheduled sport activities, many with major implications for the impending playoffs.
Reeling the most, perhaps, is the boys’ soccer team which was scheduled to play a first-round playoff game against Carbon High School Thursday.
When the sanctions were issued Thursday morning, Park City High School activities director Doug Payne and head soccer coach Caro Caro were still planning to hold the game, but in much the same way that the Mexican national team did last week when the swine flu scare first broke no fans, just players, coaches, officials and administrators. But by mid-Thursday morning, Payne had received calls from Carbon High School officials stating that they did not want to risk spreading the virus to their community.
"They said, ‘No, we’re not going to take our kids to a place that has shut down the entire place because of swine flu,’" Payne said. "They don’t want to take that chance with anybody spreading germs."
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The soccer quarterfinal playoffs are scheduled for Saturday, meaning that Park City and Carbon would be lagging behind the rest of the 3A schools. The Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) had briefly discussed not allowing the defending state champion Park City team to participate in the postseason, but quickly threw out that idea after reaching an agreement with Park City, Carbon and the two other teams in their tournament bracket agreed to play their first round and quarterfinal games on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. All teams that qualify for the semifinals should be ready to play at theoriginally scheduled time next Friday. Payne added that things will be reevaluated if the test results come back positive.
"Four games in a week will obviously be hard, but we’ll do it," said Tommy Martin, one of the Miners’ top soccer players.
Originally, when Martin heard the news that they might not get to play in the playoffs, he was very distraught.
"They can’t do this. We’re defending state champs," he said. "They are blowing it out of proportion. Obviously, it’s not good, but I think people get a fright out of these things."
Martin went as far as to say that the team was more than willing to give up the home-field advantage that they earned as the region champions and play anywhere just to be able to stay in the postseason picture.
"We can win wherever we go," he said.
Payne was encouraged by the all of the hard work and sacrifices made by the UHSAA and other 3A schools.
"That just points out the sportsmanship that exists in 3A and the UHSAA," Payne said. "They did a lot of work. We are really appreciative of that."
Payne spent most of Thursday on the phone and in meetings trying to sort everything out and make some other decisions. He said that sports other than soccer may be rescheduled pending a negative result from the swine-flu tests on Friday.
The first-round soccer playoff game will be held Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Dozier Field. The quarterfinal game originally scheduled for Saturday will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. on the same field.
Other sports and recreation.
Phyllis McDonough Robinson, Park City community and public affairs manager, reports that the city, Park City Racquet Club and Basin Recreation Field House youth programs in the Park City area have cancelled through at least Monday, May 4. In a statement released Thursday, she said that a community information hotline has been set up to address questions and concerns regarding the flu. English and Spanish speaking personnel and health care professionals are staffing the phone lines. The hotline number is 435-615-5989.