Friday’s varsity football matchup between the Amundsen Vikings (0-3) and rival Mather Rangers has been cancelled because the teams would not have the required three days of practice before the scheduled start time of 4:15 p.m. Friday, according to head coach Grant Jones.
This is just one of many instances of the CTU teachers’ strike affecting the student-athletes of any level at Amundsen; as there has already been one varsity volleyball game cancelled (Monday’s scheduled game at Little Village) and a varsity soccer game set for tomorrow at Lane Tech that will have to be cancelled as well if the strike does not end by tomorrow (according to espnchicago.com, the IHSA decided Monday to not grant a waiver presented by the CPS to continue varsity sports during the strike). All three sports are currently in conference play, with the strike coming at the most crucial point in their respective schedules. The volleyball team had recently improved their record to .500 (3-3) with a win over Kelvyn Park Friday, while the soccer team (3-3-2, 1-1) evened up their conference record with a 1-0 win against Taft Friday.
The strike also gives the city schools a disadvantage as the IHSA playoffs begin just a little over a month from now, as their suburban and catholic school competition will still have the extra practice and games under their belt.
“I think it will be bad because I don’t know when we’ll be able to play again,” said varsity soccer’s senior defender Juan Mendoza. “That will affect us for state (tournament play), we won’t know whether we’ll play or not.”
Despite the uncertainty, Mendoza and several of his teammates are taking advantage of the spacious Winnemac Park field behind the school and have been gathering for informal practices.
“We plan on coming out here every day,” Mendoza said. “So we can practice and get ready for conference games that are coming up.”
The informal practices are a good way to keep the kids active and in shape, but senior defender Daniel Peralta knows that having the Vikings’ coaching staff there to control what’s going on would be helpful.
“I like having the coaches there,” he said. “He actually makes us practice. This is more like goofing around.”
With day two of the strike in the books, Peralta also knows that the longer it lasts, the more all of the hard work of the students around the city will go for naught.
“We’ve worked so hard since the beginning, since tryouts,” said . “I think the strike might mess that up.”