Wednesday marked the start of in-services at West York High School. Which doesn't seem like a big deal, except that it's a bummer for teachers who see their summers come to an end a bit earlier than usual.
But that schedule has certainly complicated things for the West York football team. Per PIAA rules, official practices began Monday, meaning the Bulldogs had all of two days before in-services to run through their normal, two-a-day summer schedule.
The scheduling glitch offered head coach Ron Miller the difficult decision of how to best budget his practice time. With opening night hardly two weeks away and a defense with seven new starters, Miller opted to hold two practices after school hours -- one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Two-a-nights, if you will.
"We'll bring these guys in during our lunch break, have them lift some weights," Miller said at YAIAA Media Day. "Then we'll bring them back when we're done our school day. Practice for let's say an hour, 45 minutes. We'll have our booster club bring in food, we'll watch film of practice. Get them refreshed and replenished, rehydrated again. Then we'll go out and do the second half of practice.
"I've never been (in a similar situation). It's tough, but there's nothing else we can do. We got to get our practice time in and we got to get ourselves prepared for a tough game."
West York hosts YAIAA Division I champs Central York on Sept. 4. From there, the Bulldogs host Dallastown before traveling to Red Lion. Not exactly an easy start to the season.
For the rest of the week, the Bulldogs will practice first from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m., and then from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The scheduling anomaly brings up an interesting issue. Certainly West York isn't the only team in the state -- or the area -- with such a scheduling crunch. It seems unfair that some schools with later starts get a week or more of uninterrupted two-a-days, while others like West York are left to make due with less available practice time. Red Lion head coach Pat Conrad expressed similar concern about the disparity when I spoke with him at YAIAA Media Day.
That said, it's hard to imagine exactly what the solution would be, aside from the PIAA allowing earlier practices or area schools setting uniform start dates.
Any suggestions out there?