It wasn’t exactly the way they planned it, but the Oakdale Youth Soccer League kicked off its fall schedule with a full slate of contests on Saturday, Sept. 7.
But instead of bright hues, pink tops with black shorts, lime green swirls and tangerine orange jerseys, the players sported a more subdued but patriotic red, white and blue.
Seems the normal Score uniform representative, who usually delivers the goods after picking them up in San Diego, was unavailable. He was busy fighting the Rim Fire.
The fire near Yosemite made its presence felt in more than just the absence of uniforms on Saturday; Oakdale was under a haze of smoke for much of the morning. It cleared out just in time for the sun to heat up the fields at T.L. Davis into the 90s for the afternoon contests.
League president Jo Harris sent out a notification to players and parents about the uniform situation in hopes they would be understanding about not having them in time for the first day.
“Our Uniform Rep is a member of the Tuolumne Fire Department and has had his hands full with fire containment,” Harris and league registrar Ann Orr wrote in a letter sent to parents. “Typically, he drives our uniforms up to us; however, this year we stood behind his choice to stay and fight the fire.”
To that end, and in honor of first responders at the Rim Fire, each Home team was asked to wear white shirts to their games on Saturday and each Visitor team for the contests was asked to wear either red or blue. So through that unusual twist, the ‘Tangerine Tigers’ were wearing white.
Harris said teams were also encouraged to bring flags and signs of support for the firefighters.
Uniforms will be in soon, in plenty of time for ‘picture day’ later this month, said Harris.
Several hundred youngsters are taking part in the OYSL rec league, and there are also multiple competitive travel teams offered through the league. Harris said there were few complaints about the lack of uniforms, though having to play games under the unusually smoky conditions was tough.
Air quality was at the ‘orange’ unhealthy level on Monday, due to a combination of the weather pattern and smoke (Mt. Diablo fire and Rim Fire) so the league canceled all practices. Harris said parents and players will be notified if the air quality is unhealthy enough to force a cancellation, as the league wants to do what is in the best interest and health of its players.
Also, Saturday marked the official opening of the newly renovated and operational snack bar at T.L. Davis, with a former portable school building brought on site.
Teams in the league range from the U6 squads to the U14s, with several competitive teams also home for the first day of their league action.
Oakdale sent 11 personnel to help with the Rim Fire, the email letter from Harris and Orr noted, with local firefighters also joining in to help and many residents contributing items to firefighters and evacuees.