CA Fires Affect BHS Athletes and Sports

If you live in California, you know of September through October as wildfire season; it’s just how it is now. For about a month, everyone in the Bay Area pulls their masks out of the attic and hopes PG&E doesn’t shut off their power. So far no fires have started in the Berkeley and Oakland area, so life goes on as normal as soon as the air clears. But what about sports teams who need to practice outside, but can’t because of the smoky air? Are wildfires affecting how sports teams in the Bay Area perform at games?

Practice makes perfect is a common motto, especially among people who compete, but what if practice can’t happen? For some teams it doesn’t matter as much. Leah Freeman, a senior on the girls’ soccer team at Berkeley High School (BHS), said that even though a few practices were cancelled because of the air, “it didn’t matter as much because every time one was cancelled, we would individually train indoors.” When practices are cancelled, many other teams can still find ways to practice indoors.

However, some teams can’t train indoors, like crew. Stephanie Jersey is a freshman on the BHS girls’ crew team. In late October, a water practice for crew was canceled. Jersey said, “We only have a few water practices a week so missing one did impact us, especially since we have a race coming up.”

Sometimes important games have to be canceled because of the air. Kalani Kossa-Rienzi, a senior on the boys’ soccer team at BHS, said: “Last year, during one of the fires, our very last game got cancelled and we tried to reschedule it, but there wasn’t any time or field space, which was a bummer.” Their last chance to all be together, competing on the field as a team, was ruined because of the wildfires burning in the north. And what caused the wildfires? It almost certainly was global warming. Wildfire season has impacted BHS sports teams over the past two years, and to end that, we are going to have to work together to put a stop to global warming as a society.

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Image by Ari Libenson

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