Matt Maeda admits the COVID-19 virus struck him down good during a 30-day period.
San Gorgonio High’s longtime athletic director, 53, said, “Days nine, 10 and 11 were really tough. It’s like a really nasty flu.”
As of Monday, Nov. 16, Maeda said he had recovered sufficiently. “I spent about two hours mowing the lawn, but I was really tired after that.”
COVID, he said, “is real. Take the precautions.”
Maeda, meanwhile, is right in the midst of rapidly-approaching dates that are set to open CIF-Southern Section sports -- boys volleyball on Dec. 12, girls volleyball on Dec. 19, boys and girls water polo on Dec. 21 and Dec. 28, respectively, while cross country begins on Dec. 26.
By January 7-9, the first high school games were set to begin in Orange County and various other points in Southern California.
On Monday, Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of health and human services, reported that the release of updated youth sports guidance has been postponed.
Current guidance remains in effect, and CIF competitions are not allowed until new guidance is provided.
Both Maeda and Redlands High Athletic Director Estevan Valencia know that high school coaches, athletes and athletes’ parents are frustrated when they see interscholastic games being played in other states and the continuation of club teams participating in games and tournaments in state and out of state.
“Several clubs,” he said, referring to baseball, football and soccer travel teams, “have been playing in tournaments. When they came back, a lot of them tested for COVID.”
It’s not a good sign, he said.
“We can’t get anybody in our buildings,” said Valencia, “for volleyball or weightlifting.”
Social media was on high alert on Monday when the CIF-Southern Section offices announced it was shutting down for a while.
Along with that, consider that CIF-SS Commissioner Rob Wigod acknowledged some negative results on the upsurge in positive coronavirus tests that have increased throughout California.
Cal and Utah canceled their college football games last weekend. Stanford played its season-opening game without its starting QB because of COVID-19 protocols.
High school football games in Colorado, Texas, Kentucky and Minnesota — states that were allowed to play — were either canceled or postponed because COVID-19 showing up among teams.
Since football is scheduled to open in January, there are feelings that it will be held back by virtue of state officials. In recent days, all of Southern California has been termed “Purple,” which means the virus is “widespread.”
No one, including Maeda or Valencia, wanted to predict whether or not prep sports would take place.
“I’m not in a position to comment on that,” said Valencia, adding that state health officials have a better view.
“Right now,” said the longtime Terrier baseball coach, “we’ll keep going and do what we can to prepare for the season.”
Maeda said, “Our district has been shut down since March. We were looking forward to Wednesday.”
This past Wednesday was the first date that San Bernardino Unified School athletes could begin conditioning under certain protocols — face masks, 10-man maximum groups and no sharing equipment.
Despite his own illness, Maeda has kept in contact with coaches, sharing a rumor about club sports.
Valencia preferred to use other factors to determine a possible return to sports.
“Allowing sports to go on without letting kids back in the classroom seems like a mixed message,” he said.
Maeda agreed, saying another San G coach who also coached a club sport, also came up with a mild condition of COVID.
Part of Maeda’s personal admission is that he and his wife, Kristina, who suffered a milder form of COVID-19, took a 30th anniversary trip to Texas earlier this fall.
“I don’t know exactly where I got it,” he said, though he speculated he might have picked it up either at Los Angeles International Airport or on the airplane.
“I went to ballparks in Texas,” he said, “and went to historical sites.”
Once he came down with the virus, he said, “I was fortunate because I had no nausea. I could eat and stay hydrated.” Bedridden for most of the process, he said, “It was a really nasty flu.
I could feel my body fighting it. If I were older, it would’ve been a lot worse.
“It’s a rough road. It’s fortunate I didn’t have to go to the hospital.”