Mark Gardner Discusses Our New Abnormal

Mark Gardner, a high school history teacher, longtime former coach, popular track and cross country announcer, and contributor to MileSplitCA, is also a parent and provides a unique perspective on the impact of COVID on students, teaching, coaching and our favorite two sports. We caught up with Mark in advance of the July 20 announcement from the CIF as to the 2020-21 athletic calendar to discuss the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the likely options for the CIF and how best to approach what may likely be another five month gap before the full resumption of high school sports. 


  • Introduction, Mark wears many hats as a parent, teacher, former, coach, announcer. [0:19]
  • Mark has been the producer of MileSplit's Dream Team series. [1:33]
  • Discussion on school district decisions for on-campus, hybrid and distance learning in the fall. [2:14]
  • The risks of returning to the classroom too soon. [6:47]
  • CIF is likely to announce on July 20 that all sports will push to 2021. [8:34]
  • Challenges of fitting all sports between January through June. [10:22]
  • All things "normal" are out the window. [11:23]
  • Approach from a coach's perspective. [12:12]
  • "Coaches are doing some of the best coaching they've ever done." [14:38]
  • John Lester's amazing summer, and other jaw-dropping performances. [15:20]
  • Coaches are hamstrung and challenged to find ways to show athletes' hard work is worth it. [16:18]
  • Dealing with five-plus more months without CIF sports. [17:17]
  • What about "non-contact" sports like golf, tennis, cross country going now? [17:35]
  • Discussion of the JC model that pushed all sports into two seasons in 2021. [19:25]
  • "Could we see better track times because of this?" [22:05]
  • "Hopefully this brings everyone together more." [23:39]
  • Final thoughts and sign-off. [25:04]