Two months ago we were gearing up for March Madness and the heat of high school baseball season. Two months ago high school seniors had spring break plans and visions of walking across a stage to collect a diploma. The novel coronavirus took that away, not just in Louisiana, but in the entire world.
In Louisiana, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Phase 1 has been enacted for the state, and many are beginning to get back to a slightly new normal. However, the time lost to this disease will not soon be forgotten. Normally around this time we would look back on what has happened over the past half of the year. This time though, we have to look back at what didn’t happen in these past two months.
It almost seems silly to look at what the world has not been able to do over the past few months through the small lens of sports, but one cannot deny the effect that COVID-19 had on the sporting world. Everything was just canceled. From the Summer Olympics in Tokyo to local T-ball, there is not a single mainstream sport with a season safe from the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus.
Looking through the particular lens of this column, that, of course, includes high school sports like basketball, baseball, softball, track, field and others.
Thankfully, both boys and girls basketball managed to finish up their seasons before the coronavirus hit the state, but other sports were simply not safe. For those seniors for whom this season was their last, I am deeply sorry. Even though you did not get to finish your seasons, look back on the time you did get to play with a smile.
While many, including myself, cling to the illusion that everything, including sports, will be back to normal come this fall, the effects of COVID-19 will not just stop on a dime. While we will likely have high school sports in the fall, it’s equally likely that these will go ahead with limited attendance or none at all. The scenario in which nobody will get to attend sporting events is highly unlikely, but it is something that must be prepared for. Higher-level organizations, such as Ohio State, have proposed models that would allow a strict number of fans to attend football games in the fall while keeping everyone socially distanced. Hopefully these same kinds of models can be arranged by teams’ respective high schools for all fall sports, but there is no doubt that the next year’s sporting events will look a whole lot different from we are used to.
Until then, stay safe. We will all get through this together.