Illinois High School Fall Sports Coming: Are You Ready???

377591 03: Elias Zubiate and other football players at Odessa High School in Odessa, Texas pray in the locker room, September 1, 2000, before their season opener against Dallas Skyline High School. The football players joined together for an unsanctioned prayer session as the Supreme Court's landmark June 19, 2000 ruling banning school-sanctioned pre-game prayer came into play. Prayer continues to spur controversy in Odessa/Midland, the heart of Texas where high school football is king and presidential candidate George W. Bush calls his childhood home. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers)

As September approaches and summer comes to a close, many high school students have started preparing themselves for the upcoming school year. High school athletes have to be particularly cognizant of their groundwork (especially incoming freshmen since they have yet to enter H.S. life) if they have any plans on trying out for a fall sport.

The Illinois High School Athletic Association (IHSA) sanctions nine different sports for the fall, 5 girls and 4 boys, with most state high schools participating. They include:

Boys                              Girls
Golf                                Golf
Football                        Tennis
Soccer                           Volleyball
Cross Country           Cross Country
                                          Swimming/Diving

John Konopak, left, runs with the Burroughs High School cross country team. 2007. Photo via Newscom

This year all nine are allowed to start their official practices this Wednesday August 11th. If an athlete misses this official start date (freshman), there is still a chance that they can try out for a team as long as they show some initiative by contacting the athletic department and/or coach to see if that possibility exists. This needs to be done promptly as coaches start evaluating athletes pretty quickly and many may not take kindly to someone who does not demonstrate a high level of interest and motivation by taking this initiative.

For all sophomores, juniors, and seniors who miss tryouts, well..., you better have a solid explanation for why that happened. This will not be looked on very positively by many coaches, unless, of course, there were some extenuating circumstances.

Other important pieces that athletes will need to have completed before they are allowed to participate on an athletic team are:

Physical - along with the completed form if required by the school.

Athletic Code/Permission Card - signed by both the athlete and parents.
(And please read and understand that you are giving your word that you will abide by this code - that is how coaches and the school will view your signatures. Abiding by this code speaks volumes about one's character.)

Participation Fee - which can range anywhere from around $25.00 to over $200.00 per sport (depending on the district).

 

The first two, Physical & Athletic Code/Permission Card, will need to be completed and turned in before tryouts; however, the fee payment is usually required before the first competition.

The first contest dates for each sport do vary a little depending on the sport. This year's schedule is listed below:

Boys and Girls Golf:                                  August 16th

Boys Soccer and Cross Country
Girls Tennis, Volleyball,
Swimming and Cross Country:          August 23rd 

Football:                                                      August 27th

OT_296194_DAMA_1ASWIM_21 ( ORLANDO 11/14/08 ) photo #21.) Northside Christian's Jaki St Louis swims to third place in the girls 100 yard breaststroke in finals at the high school state 1A swimming and diving championship in Orlando Friday night Photo via Newscom

I have long argued the positive benefits of competitive athletic sports participation (especially when the "right" lessons are taught) and would encourage parents to support and guide their adolescents toward some level of involvement while they are in high school.

If nothing of interest is offered in the Fall season, there are still a variety of other options open to students during the upcoming Winter and Spring seasons. This is in addition to the many groups and clubs available through many high schools' activities department, usually connected in some way with the athletic department.

Take the time to thoroughly investigate the plethora of opportunities available to today's high schoolers, the positives that can come out of these experiences are life-long in nature.

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