It’s supposed to be a life’s highlight, an early indicator of a benchmark attained and success reached.
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High school graduation only comes around once and students should be celebrated for their accomplishments on this special day.
But darn, some of the graduating seniors are also athletes.
Good at it too.
Here in El Dorado County, high school graduation is this week for Oak Ridge, Ponderosa, El Dorado and Union Mine (Golden Sierra is next week).
So are the CIF Sac Joaquin Section’s Track and Field Masters Meet, the gateway to the state finals.
Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that the target for these elite athletes?
You can’t get to one without doing the other.
Every year this problem erupts, athletes forced to choose: compete or strut the stage before family and classmates to ‘Pomp and Circumstance.’
Medal or diploma?
Either choice is well-earned. Countless hours went into each.
Remember the favored, senior-led Ponderosa girls softball team that had the section title in the palm of its hand when, in need of just one more win, walked away to graduate with their class?
And the basis for the original ‘Tassel hassle’ column.
We hear it each year. Athletes foregoing graduation to compete, vice versa or squeeze in both: compete and rush back to the ceremony.
When will the two not conflict?
Is this a CIF governing issue? To insure athletes do both? Something for new incoming commissioner Mike Garrison to look at?
To be fair, it seems the school calendar has changed: earlier start, earlier end.
Could be there’s no good way to avoid the postseason although there should be.
For now, this week’s Masters Meet directly affects the Oak Ridge and Ponderosa High track and field teams.
This Friday are the finals for numerous events, one involving Trojan 3200 distance runner Rachel Peterson who qualified for her third Masters.
She’s not the only one though.
Right now she’s probably tormented as to what decision to make.
If she’s practicing this week that’s probably an indicator of the way she’s leaning.
But among friends, at school, around all the talk and excitement of the end of four years of high school … decisions could quickly change.