It’s awkward. The silence I mean. Sitting nestled on the five high school campuses are fields that should be bustling every afternoon after the school bell rings.
They’re not and they won’t be for at least for the next two weeks. Thursday the GHSA recommended schools suspend their spring sports schedules at least until April 6. I have a feeling it will be much longer than that.
COVID-19 is continuing to advance across the United State of America and the world.
The cancellation of sports—little league, middle school, high school, college and professional levels—have called for the halt in action. For some, the season is over, for others that remains to be seen.
Personally, the decision to snip sports and the gatherings that come along with them for a while has been one that has hit me in the gut professionally and spiritually.
The suspension of spring sports in Oconee County means that teams that I have the pleasure of covering are potentially being kept away from state championship runs. Last year alone three teams came home with state titles and a fourth played for one.
I don’t mind having to find stories over the next few weeks. This community is a melting pot for stories and it always provides.
I’m saddened. I’m saddened for some of the great players that I’ve had the opportunity to cover that will have their senior seasons cut short. There was no warning. It was just poof it’s gone.
This is an example to us all how fragile life and sports are. The current play can always be your last. That’s a hard lesson to accept.
To make matters worse, when I step away from the office and the now-empty fields of Oconee County, there’s no sports on television, there isn’t an open gym set up for pick up basketball. I’m left with me, myself and my wits. That’s a dangerous combination.
Even with all that sadness, I think this is the best we thing we could have done as human beings trying to combat the coronavirus.
As they say ‘better safe than sorry’ or ‘better late than never’. It was either make the move now and give people time to accept the unfortunate changes that have slowly crept across the horizon for the last few months or have it taken away due to the worst case scenario.
In a way that’s fear, but it’s a good fear. Sometimes you must get out ahead of something you don’t fully understand especially when lives are at stake.
Sometimes fear is bad and unnecessary like buying 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and stowing away countless amounts of toilet paper.
This isn’t that. Perhaps because of the preemptive moves made now, the spring calendar can be salvaged.
I’d love to believe that. I don’t think we’re going to get the happy ending in the first stanza of this increasingly horrifying drama, but maybe we can save some lives and keep the opportunity for some games of ball at some point in the near future.
I am hopeful. My spirits are high and my curiosity for things has been tickled at the prospect of a world without sports.
It’s only week one without sports. I could have a different tone once I realize I’m not good at fishing or golf.
Jeremy Johnson is the sports editor for The Oconee Enterprise. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.