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The Press Box For April 1

By Staff | Apr 1, 2020

Governor Jim Justice has said he would like to see schools re-open on April 20. As of now that seems to be the plan. Bernie Dolan Executive Director of the WVSSAC is optimistic regarding the possible return of high school spring sports in 2020.

With everything still uncertain anything seems possible. President Trump is planning on opening the country back up in certain areas by Easter Sunday. West Virginia, with a growing number of coronavirus cases each day believes they can return to school around the same time.

I am would not want to be one to make these calls. All evidence points to an increase, to a further rise in the number of infections, and the amount of younger people falling sick gets higher with each passing day.

I would like to see high school sports start up as much as the next person. Nothing would satisfy my sports appetite more than attending the 2020 state basketball tournament or the state track meet. What could be better right now, than standing on the sidelines watching baseball or softball?

However, as exciting and important as those things are, none are as important as the health and welfare of our children. Nothing compares, not sports, graduations, proms, award banquets, absolutely nothing. When we look at what ramifications could result from returning to social gatherings, we just cannot take the risk.

Granted, coaches, fans, athletes, parents, and all involved are hoping for the best. But, the best is not to rush into something that will change things for the worst.

Far to often we make decisions that end in disaster. It is my hope and prayer that this virus passes quickly, without any major harm to our immediate area, especially our young people and athletes. I am thankful that we have hope in a brighter day and can look forward to tomorrow.

If our schools re-open and the sports season resume, I wish each and every participant a safe and successful season. If not I look forward to next fall when play will once again fill our sports pages and the lives of so many.

This past Saturday was a near perfect spring day. With temperatures hovering near 80, you could hear the sound of mowers and weed eaters. This year we have had an early spring, with not much of a winter the trees are quickly filling in and the grass is growing at the two-a-week mowing rate.

There is really not a whole lot to do except work around the house or take a ride in the car. It makes a good time to teach kids how to do some things around the house and the yard. I saw on facebook where a Paden City dad was getting instructing his son how to change the mower oil and sharpen the blade. That was good stuff!

ESPN has played a lot of old ball games lately. Tune in about any night of the week and you will see some things you forgot.

If you want to watch a great boxing match tune in on you-tube to Muhammed Ali and Chuck Webner’s 15 round heavyweight bout.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man who could take a beating like Webner.

If you watched the Rocky movies, this is the closest to a real live Rocky fight. Webner had made the claim of never being knocked down. He took more punishment in that battle than any normal man should be allowed to stand. And he continued to stand until the 15th when Ali finally dropped him with an amazing uppercut. Should watch it if you get the chance, it’s better than the movie of Rocky.

Webner was a brawler and ex-marine, someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. The announcers couldn’t believe it, they couldn’t understand what was keeping him up. I watched all the fights I could watch back then. This one was held at the Richfield Coliseum in Cleveland in 1975.

Webner knocked Ali down in the early rounds of the bout and although he eventually lost, the fight inspired the original Rocky movies. After knocking down Ali, Wepner went to his corner and told his manager: “Start the car up, Al, we’re going to the bank, we’re millionaires!”, whereupon the manager told Wepner: “You better turn around-your guy’s getting up and he looks pissed off.”

Ali punished Wepner for the rest of the fight culminating with a final flurry of punches in the last round which knocked out Wepner for the first time in his career.

That’s about all the sports this week, but we’re working on some things, including some interviews with area coaches. Take care and stay safe. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com