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The Press Box For April 29

By Staff | Apr 29, 2020

The announcement came as expected on Tuesday afternoon April 21. All West Virginia high school sports were over for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

Governor Jim Justice announced schools in the state would remain closed for the rest of the school year, which immediately brought word from the WVSSAC, that the state basketball tournaments, which had been on hold, and all of spring sports were canceled.

Bernie Dolan, executive director of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission, said in a news release that the decision goes along with Gov. Jim Justice’s order Tuesday, that school buildings be closed for the remainder of the school year and students continue distance learning.

“This is an extremely difficult time for our students, coaches, schools and communities,” Dolan said. “West Virginians are a resilient group who will overcome this virus and all problems that come with it.”

“Even though we are practicing physical separation, it is more important than ever to stay connected with our family, teammates and friends,” he said.

Dolan added the WVSSAC extends wishes that everyone stays safe during these difficult times.

“I think championships are made to be won on the field, on the court,” said Dolan. “I think that is where we would stand, and what we feel would be the right thing to do.”

Dolan more information will be provided for high school athletes as it becomes available.

On March 12, the girls state basketball tournament was suspended and regional play was stopped for the boys tournament as they prepared for the state event the following week in Charleston.

WVSSAC allows high school coaches and athletes to formally practice and play against other schools for a three week period during the summer months. This usually occurs during the last three weeks in June, but it could come down to late in the summer before the coaches and players actually get to spend that alotted time together.

However it turns out, there will be lost opportunities for seniors graduating in 2020. Lost to the virus are the 2020 basketball tournaments, and baseball, softball and track seasons, something many seniors have waited on their entire career. Some had hopes to impress recruiters and perhaps take their talents to another level. Some, had their own personal goals to set, while hoping to be a part of perhaps a state championship, while others just were just excited to be a part of representing their school one final time.

Along with these lost opportunities are the memories that would have lasted a lifetime. Friendships made as teammates extend for many years and are recounted later in life at class reunions. All of that may be lost, but the fact remains there is still much to gain as you go out into the world. Take with you everything you have learned during your school days. Remember the teachers and coaches who taught you so much and took an interest in your life.

Remember you are not alone! Thousands of athletes throughout the state will miss out on the opportunity to train, improve, compete, and play for championships. Spend this time wisely and come out of this difficult situation with a better view of life in general. Understand that life is fagile, circumstances can change in an instant. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to better yourself in some way.

Form better relationships with family. Stay connected to friends on social media, make new friends and reconnect with old ones. There are many lessons to learn from this.

As of now, It’s just not safe for things to be back to normal. It’s very difficult and especially for the seniors. It’s sad that their last opportunity to excell as a senior athlete is over. It’s hard on them, and hard on the parents, coaches and fans. Life often will put who in a tough situation, it will throw you a curve ball, when that happens take it with a grain of salt and make the most of a bad situation.

This certainly seems like the worst nightmare and I cannot tell you what is the right or wrong thing to do, but I want to tell you the world will be better off if you use this as a learning experience and show compassion to help someone else. Life will continue and things will get back to normal. Someday we’ll all look back on ‘2020,THE YEAR THE WORLD STOOD STILL.’ eparsons@tylerstarnews.com