It’s been 33 days since the Greenwood High School boys hoisted the hardware and 37 since the Pillow Academy girls did the same.
Thankfully, COVID-19 wasn’t coming on strong back in late February and early March. It would have been a darn shame for two magical local hoop seasons to be yanked out from under these kids and coaches.
And don’t think for a second this hasn’t crossed the mind of veteran PA coach Durwin Carpenter. His team entered the postseason not even ranked in the top 5 in the state but walked away MAIS Overall Tournament champion. It was his fourth in 26 years at the Greenwood private school.
“We were very fortunate for all of this not to hit about the time our girls were finally putting it all together,” Carpenter said. “Man, I just can’t imagine that magical ride getting pulled out from under us.”
But Carpenter, like all good coaches, is sick about not just PA seniors, but seniors all across the state, who will miss out on the remainder of their sports careers.
“A lot of times kids don’t even really realize how special sports are to the entire school experience until later in life. I hate kids are losing out on a small part of that.”
It’s been tough enough watching all these local spring-sport athletes lose out on so much of what makes the high school experience — sports and school spirit. The longer COVID-19 holds its grip, the more likely the realization of such unfortunate — even if temporary — change it has had on the sports world.
Obviously, this pandemic is much, much bigger than sports, but sports is my business — so let’s think about what happs moving forward.
Outside of putting all sports on hold, there has been no official word come down yet from either the Mississippi High School Activities Association or the MidSouth Association of Independent Schools about seasons being totally wiped out yet. Of course, these groups aren’t ready to tell everyone it’s over, but it’s my opinion sports for this spring are done and so is class work as we know it — at least until the end of the school year.
The MAIS is sticking with its week-to-week assesment, and I can understand that. But they can drag this on as long they seem fit, but in the end, most of us understand sports has to be on the back burner for the forseeable future.
There is some talk about the MAIS putting together some kind of shortened baseball championship in May if things cool down by then. I hope I am wrong, but that seems nothing more than a pipe dream, but I applaud this group for trying to salvage something out of this mess.
The MHSAA is also taking a wait-and-see approach as well. But we all know how this ends, and it likely won’t be with any games — just heartbreak for so many seniors.
Schools are closed until April 17. If they reopen as scheduled, the soonest spring sports could start would be April 20. The MHSAA dates for each sport’s championship is as follows:
April 18: Power lifting
April 24: Team tennis
April 27-28: Girls golf
April 27-29: Individual tennis
May 1-2: Track
May 4-5: Boys golf
May 14-16: Softball
May 26-30: Baseball
I don’t see any of it happening, and that’s not the end of the world, but it’s a pretty big deal to these youngsters and their families.
Wimbledon is the latest major sports event that has been canceled for the safety of the players and the masses, the first time that has happened since World War II. The significance of that is this: It was scheduled for the end of June through the middle of July.
Monday, the British Open was canceled for this summer.
That’s halfway through the summer. If premier events are done for in July, what does that say for baseball and, particularly, for football?
At some point over the summer, it’s imaginable that life in the United States might begin to find some bits of normalcy. People might begin to feel more comfortable going out to eat or going to a movie or gathering with a few friends who are feeling well or going into the office to get some work done. And government officials might feel more at ease allowing them to do so.
Until then, be safe and smart out there.
nContact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter:@Bill_Burrus.