In light of the recent wildfires that struck Northern California, several of Paly’s fall sports teams were forced to cancel practices and games due to the poor air quality drifting into the Peninsula.
Because league playoffs are on the horizon, teams are starting their preparation by increasing practices, and the wildfire has only delayed this prep work.
For example, the varsity water polo team was not able to practice or play over the course of the last week because Principal Kim Diorio announced that games would be canceled.
Varsity water polo player Will Parmeter said the boys water polo team responded well to the situation, despite being out of the water for a few days, because they had the opportunity to work on different skillsets.
“The wildfire had a positive and negative affect on our practice last week,” Parmeter said, “It was negative because we couldn’t get into the pool for six days, which caused some of us to get out of shape. It was positive because it was the first time this season that we lifted weights as a team and watched film on what we can improve on outside of the pool.”
According to Parmeter, he and several other seniors said they would benefit immensely by watching film to figure out the weaknesses of their opponents.
“All of us seniors thought that it would be a good idea to watch film if we couldn’t practice because it would be indoors and we’d be able to get an advantage on our opponents,” Parmeter said. “Also, during these film sessions, we figured out that we need to try to be more physical in games early, so we can take our opponents out of the game mentally.”
In addition, the wildfire has allowed the team to bond on a different level. Parmeter said the time outside the pool allowed them to talk strategy and more on a personal level.
“There was just more talk while not in the pool practicing,” Parmeter said. “Because we were indoors lifting weights, we could actually talk about [gameplans] and how we were all feeling going into the playoffs. It also let us get to know each other better.”
Unlike the boys varsity water polo team, the girls varsity tennis team wasn’t affected to the degree that their games were canceled.
According to junior tennis player Bridget Li, the team was notified by their coach, Andy Harader, on Oct. 12 (Thursday) that only practice would be canceled.
“I was told by the coach that practice was canceled Thursday morning,” Li said. “None of our games were affected because we happened to not have a game that Thursday anyway.”
The team didn’t replace the practice with team building activities or anything that would improve their gameplay.
“We didn’t do anything indoors,” Li said. “We just didn’t have practice, so that meant no bonding.”
Outside of Paly sports, professional Bay Area sports teams have fundraised to support victims outside of the wildfire.
The Golden State Warriors, Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Jose Sharks and San Jose Earthquakes all combined to raise $450,000 that will be donated to relief efforts in the North Bay.
According to CBS Sports, Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts said that the well-being of the victims is more important than any rivalry between the teams.
“The North Bay is a large part of our Warriors family and we’re devastated by what they’re enduring at this time,” Welts said. “We are joining forces with the rest of our sports community to help relief efforts and encourage any fans who are able to help by donating as well.”