I admit it. I messed up on my Aug. 10 story regarding the practices being done by members of the Half Moon Bay High School cross-country teams.

I stated that, from Aug. 1 until the first day practice begins, which this year was Aug. 12, coaches and athletes couldn't have any contact.

To quote Dom DeLuise from the classic movie, "Blazing Saddles," "WRONG!"

Peninsula Athletic League commissioner Terry Stogner told me Aug. 1 is the official start of the school year. Since practice for the fall sports don't begin for a couple of weeks, this is the period when coaches, if they want to, can host voluntary conditioning classes. Anything can be done at these voluntary workouts, as long as the main emphasis of the sport is not practiced.

As part of the conditioning, all the athletes attending can expect to do some running.

Here's where the contradiction comes to play.

One of the five fall sports offered at Half Moon Bay is cross-country. The main emphasis of cross-country is running. If members of that team, as part of conditioning, want to hit a volleyball or throw a football around, that's fine. But the team can't run, even if it's done under the guise of "conditioning."

If you really want to be a stickler for this rule, the only athletes that should be allowed to run as a part of conditioning are water polo players, wrestlers, swimmers and golfers. Everyone else runs in their sport, though it's not the primary function of the sport.

I understand there is a reason for the rules. I also understand that there is a need for student/athletes to have some time away from sports. But rules determining when the school year begins don't sit right with me.

Perhaps, the rule should be cleaned up to state that the day school actually starts is the date practice can officially start.

But, to allow other athletes a chance to stay fit while cross-country athletes don't have the same opportunity is not fair. If it wasn't for Half Moon Bay senior Alex De Baets organizing some running sessions, who knows how far behind the Cougar athletes would be.

The only saving grace is that all the other cross-country teams in the CCS are subject to the same rules. I don't know whether other runners from other teams organized their own practice sessions. I'm sure some teams did this, although I can't prove it.

While other athletes from other teams can still maintain contact with their coaches, if the coaches choose to have a conditioning, what does the cross-country coach do? Perhaps invite the team over for a pasta dinner?

Championships are not determined with the amount of practices or conditioning classes. But, conditioning sure helps the cause.

The PAL needs to revisit this issue. It's just not fair to me when other athletes are able to condition themselves, but cross-country athletes can't.

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