Like our local school board members, Virginia High School League’s (VHSL) Executive Committee has had to make some tough decisions regarding sports for our student athletes.
Professional sports trying to get back on the field have seen an uptick in coronavirus cases as evidenced by the recent outbreak on MLB’s Miami Marlins team. As much money as pro sports has to throw around for preventive measures and cleaning, there were still 17 cases confirmed on the Marlins this week.
High school sports that have limited funding can take some precautions but at the end of the day it won’t be enough.
VHSL’s decision this week to postpone sports until late December is a good call. Have you ever stood on the sidelines at a football game? Do you know how much spitting goes on? That alone is cause for concern. Then you add shared water bottles, sweating and contact, yeah, it’s gross. Is it a bummer we can’t look forward to the chill in the air as the sun sets over Cy Dillon Stadium, and the smell of hot chocolate or coffee filling our noses as we hit the concession stand at half-time for a quick refreshment?
Are we disappointed that we won’t be cheering on the Eagles as they take the football field busting through a banner made especially for that night’s game and hearing the band play the fight song when they score a touchdown? Yes. But we know it is for the good of the students and their families not to risk their health any further than they already do when they set foot on the field.
The good news is sports have a plan to return, just not in the traditional order. Under VHSL’s plan, the winter sports season is set to begin Dec. 14 and run through Feb. 20, with boys and girls basketball, boys and girls indoor track and field, boys and girls swimming and wrestling. The first contest date is Dec. 28.
“I’m just glad that we have the opportunity to let the kids play,” Franklin County head boys varsity basketball coach Tom Hering said. “I’m glad they voted on (model 3). It gives all sports a chance to play, but there are no guarantees, I’m sure.”
If we’ve learned anything during this pandemic it’s that nothing is certain. We can plan, and those plans may have to be revised, but we hope for fewer cases and sports to return.
Local sports fans will have to wait until March for the first contests in competitive cheer, boys and girls cross country, football, golf and volleyball. Practices will start in February.
Spring sports are set to run April 12 through June 26, including baseball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls soccer, softball, boys and girls tennis and boys and girls outdoor track and field. The first contest date is April 26.
The Old Dominion Athletic Conference Presidents Council also voted to postpone conference competition and championship play in its fall sports at member schools, which means no sports at Ferrum College either until next year.
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