BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The lights are on and the sounds of teams practicing have returned to Garces Memorial High School as the Rams have been focused on returning teams on campus for practices. A welcomed notion for all of its student-athletes.
"While it's not a right. It's a privilege to be out here, but we want to offer that up to them, because we know how important it is to them," Trevor Horn said.
Garces Memorial’s Sports Information Director Trevor Horn is referring to nearly all of the Rams' athletics beginning practices over the past month.
“If they're not participating on our campus they're going to go find somewhere else and are those other options going to be as safe and have as many protocols in place to keep them healthy. I'm not sure but I know for a fact that what we're doing here we're going to keep them safe," Horn said.
From winter sports such as basketball and all fall sports, like football, Garces Memorial has been focused on returning its athletes as well as its student body for on campus learning since late October as they follow along with public health guidelines.
“If we're being told by local health officials that what we're doing is the right thing to do. We're going to keep providing this the best way we can because that's the biggest thing here is that we need to provide them with an avenue to be able to express themselves," Horn said.
Horn says that the school communicates regularly with Kern County Public Health Department and the Diocese of Fresno to ensure teams follow the correct protocols, including using masks, social distancing, and working out in small groups.
Those same protocols have cleared the rams to re-introduce balls back into practice as well.
"If we have a group of 10 to 15 kids a quarterback and his receivers that ball can stay within that group, and they can throw that ball for as long as they need and then when they're done, then that ball gets disinfected," Horn said.
Re-enforcing those guidelines has become a part of the norm.
"They're still teenagers they're still going to be forgetful they're still going to be, you know, they're gonna forget to put their mask on here and there and that's where we come in as administrators and coaches and adults in the room to make them understand and really educate them the importance on why we're doing this," Horn said.
"They're excited to be out here, they're, you know, if someone's not socially distancing, so something they spread out," Paul Golla said.
The Rams Head Football Coach Paul Golla is just as excited to be back with his team.
"We were able to meet the cafeteria social distance six feet and actually was able to watch film together and, and just being able to tease each other and joke around and push them and it’s just absolutely wonderful that we're able to do this," Golla said.
Teams across campus will continue training for seasons set to begin in late December and on January 7th for football despite uncertainty still looming in the county as cases continue to rise.
"If we have a season awesome, or there's not a season, we still got better from it and, and we're exercising and, you know, dualism healthy body creates healthy mind," Golla said.
Even if Coach Golla admits that quarantine may have caught up to all of us.
"Well, besides gaining like 25 pounds," Golla says with a laugh.
It’s just good to still see smiles out on a field again even if they are behind a mask.