Community comes together over COVID cancellations

We’re a few weeks into the Fall 2021 prep season, and although the vast majority of games have gone off as planned, predictably, there have been a few hiccups.

The most high-profile cancellations and postponements have been in football, which makes sense — rosters are four to five times larger than other sports, making them more likely to have a positive COVID-19 test and more close contacts to that case.

Through four weeks of the season, just two of the West Sound’s nine football teams had played all four of their games — Bainbridge and Kingston. The Spartans were fortunate to find a replacement after their Week 2 game against Lindbergh was called off due to COVID complications. They went a long way to play, all the way up to the Canadian border town of Blaine.

Kingston had North Mason scheduled for Week 4. The Bulldogs had missed their first three games because of a COVID quarantine but were cleared in time for Saturday’s game against the Bucs. That appears to be short-lived as Jeff Graham of the Kitsap Sun reported that North Mason was back in quarantine and would not play its Week 5 game against Port Angeles.

But with all of these rescheduling of games, I’ve seen something truly amazing over the past few weeks. The sheer number of people out there working to help teams scrambling to find new opponents has been astounding.

Once a game has been canceled and a tweet has been sent out, you can count on reporters, players and coaches to retweet it in order to help it reach the widest audience possible. Bainbridge and Blaine were able to find one another thanks to the effort of people who just want to help every team get in as many games as possible. Perhaps it’s a collective realization that time is short and precious, and every game matters. It’s been quite a refreshingly positive use of social media.

But despite whatever hiccups we’ve had, there have still been some great games and performances.

The order of the day in Poulsbo is to make sure North Kitsap’s football team stays focused as it navigates its league schedule. Through three games, the Vikings have scored 168 points on Central Kitsap, Lakeside and Port Angeles. That Week 1 matchup against the Cougars, a 50-36 win, could stand as the best regular-season game of the year as North Kitsap for the second season in a row prevailed in the late stages. I’m looking forward to their Week 5 game against Olympic, which should provide another stiff test for them.

In both volleyball and girls soccer, the Olympic League is shaping up to be much more competitive than it has been in past years.

The North Kitsap girls soccer team took down the reigning champs, Port Angeles, in a 1-0 victory last week on a goal from Tyra Zetty. After a couple of years of domination, it looks like the Roughriders have come back down to earth a bit. Combine that with this year’s addition of Bainbridge and Sequim’s apparent improvement, and it looks like the league title chase is shaping up to be quite a battle.

The same can be said on the volleyball court. A vastly improved Olympic Trojans team pushed North Kitsap to the limit last week. Although the Vikings won each set, they were all tightly contested. Bainbridge appears to be the team best equipped to challenge North Kitsap’s supremacy with its size, ability and experience, but early results show Kingston, Port Angeles and Sequim are certainly in the mix as well.

We’re going to find out the answers to these questions and more over the next few weeks. Hopefully, we don’t have too many more cancellations.