Buckle up…Middle & High School Fall Sports are Back!

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Let the games begin

Buckle up…Middle & High School Fall Sports are Back!


By John Cardullo, Sports Writer, RINewsToday.com


The date has been circled on every high school athletes’ calendar since the end of last season, which ended in December. August 19, 2019. This is the day that returning athletes begin practicing for the 2019 Fall season. 57 high schools in the state of Rhode Island who are members of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (and as many middle schools) start preparing for the Fall season ahead. “It is an exciting time of year; the summer is coming to an end and the athletes are excited returning to school and are looking forward to the new sports season,” said an Athletic Director. “Whether last season was a success or not so much, starting over gives everyone hope for the new season. Kids who were underclassmen are now senior leaders, and they want to have a big senior season as they also mentor the new freshman coming in. It’s the circle of sports”.


The Fall season offers Boys and Girls Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Boys and Girls Soccer, Girls Tennis, Girls Volleyball as well as Unified Volleyball which has gotten very popular over the years and the new E-sports which just began last season. Everything kicked off for the student athlete on Monday, August 19th, when the teams “officially” could have practices. Most schools do have off-season training and conditioning with trainers overseeing the athletes progress, however no coaches can be involved; a violation of RIIL rules. Although over the years schools have ‘bent” the rules and had to be brought in and told that they must dial back or there will be ramifications. These ramifications could be in the form of warnings, penalties, fines and even suspensions. However, very rarely were the most severe penalties ever enforced. Most infractions are dealt with a warning and that is usually enough.


Under RIIL Executive Director Tom Mezzonotte and his staff, they have run a very efficient and tight ship. The season itself allows the student athletes an opportunity to be part of his or her school team, building on friendships that were forged in the heat of competition. For some, sports had begun in Middle school, and for most Middle schools, they expose the athletes to competitive school sports for the first time and provide a feeder system into high school. Some of the best competitive high schools benefitted from a good middle school experience. For most serious athletes will go on to continue their athletic career in college. For most others their careers will end at the end of their senior season, however the memories will last a lifetime, knowing that they contributed to the school spirit and morale of their schools’ student body and if they are fortunate to go on to be part of a championship season, that season will always hold a special meaning to everyone; classmates, faculty and administration, to parents, relatives and even to the community.


Prior to the start of the regular season, each team will participate in the annual Injury Fund game or what is called a “Round Robin”. This is where several teams will go to a host site and play an abbreviated game or part of a full game - a dress rehearsal. The money that is made on admission for this one event goes to the Rhode Island Injury Fund which helps pay for some of the costs in case an athlete gets hurt in the season.


The following week the regular season begins, and everything counts until November when the play-offs begin. Between, there will be the traditional events such as home comings and senior nights and for some teams there will be playoffs and perhaps a championship, but for most teams that will not happen, but the spirit of the competition cannot be extinguished, and the memories are forever. So, let the games begin!