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Time for a comeback

Xs and Arrows

For the first time since 1930 a full calendar year will have passed without Tehachapi High School Football. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic that shuttered the fall '20 season, there was some hope that a season would be salvaged in early 2021, but at least for Tehachapi's sake that won't be the case.

It was made official a few weeks ago with letters to parents that despite being given clearance by the State of California, the Tehachapi Warriors would not be playing a shortened five-game season like many of their Kern County counterparts. Asking different people and the answers all vary, some blame the Kern High School District for not playing teams outside of KHSD, which is an issue considering Tehachapi is not a member of the Kern High School District but nearly every other team in the Southeast Yosemite League is. That meant Tehachapi would have to have gone through the extra effort just to find five games, and outside of Wasco, nobody was willing or able unless the Warriors went on a search for private school contests.

Taft and Delano opted out of the season for a variety of health and financial reasons leaving the public school options thin. Add in the inability to use any TUSD facilities for practice and fitness and it was an immediate disadvantage. This proved to be a problem and couple that with our school district's own financial and logistical challenges and this melted into a full-blown crisis. Unfortunately, the kids are the ones who suffer, not just the seniors but all levels missing out on a season of competition and development. A Tehachapi Unified School District official did tell another media outlet that Tehachapi High was focused on their spring sports, but I have heard little about that as a reality. If the KHSD unwillingness to play teams outside of their district remains, then we might be in the same boat. I did notice the baseball field at the corner of Snyder and Anita looked to be closer to game shape then I have seen in a year. Maybe it was a good sign.

Nonetheless, the situation is what it is. There is plenty of blame to share, some lack of leadership at several levels that compartmentalized athletics without considering the actual feasibility of their existence. This, however, cannot be corrected at this point of the year and it is fruitless to dwell on the past.

What we need in Tehachapi is a recovery and a renewed focus starting with the Fall of 2021. There will be a season next school year and now is the time to prepare. This is a call to action for everyone, from those controlling the facilities at the district level to parents, coaches, players and community members. We need to write a comeback story like only Tehachapi can. This includes getting involved with the Warrior Booster Club, helping with fundraisers, demanding the facilities for your teams be maintained and improved with either TUSD or community help. It is time to write the next chapter in our history by using this downtime to focus on what we can become.

There are roughly five months before what we believe will start the 2021-22 athletics season at Tehachapi High School. While the current situation certainly sold several student athletes short, we have to figure out how to make the phoenix rise. I believe everyone has their own part to play, whether it is keeping your young person motivated to compete next season, or contributing with time or finances, we need to come out of this in better shape than we are in now or the athletic program will take its final shift from learning opportunity to forgotten financial burden.

While the latter is unfathomable, remember what we've experienced this last year at one time fits that description as well. Who do we want to be? I have an idea and I hope you will join me in sharing your ideas too; we have an opportunity to be so much more and the time to make that happen.

Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. He can be reached at [email protected]. Read more content at http://www.CostelloeMedia.com.