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The Press Box For June 17

By Staff | Jun 17, 2020

Basketball courts and little league fields around the area were filled with kids this past week for the first time in three months. Tennis courts were busy and kids were on the playground equipment, soccer balls were being kicked and kids were back in the school yards conditioning and training. Things are looking up here in our area. But what about around the rest of the country?

A return to sports is a return to some normalcy. But don’t hold your breath. Baseball’s opening day came and went. The Olympics were postponed. Football in the fall? Don’t count on it.

Sports are so important to so many that some have likened them to a modern religion, Sports are more than games, meets, and matches, they’re important aspects of social life that have meanings far beyond scores and performance statistics.

Although most don’t know or remember, this isn’t the first time sports have been put on hold. During previous crises and conflicts, sports have been stopped. But in the past it was brief and sports went on to act as a way to bring Americans together, helping them persevere and, ultimately, heal. This time may be different.

Sports always seems to endure. During times of crisis, sports can be a healer, they help reduce negative emotions, like depression and isolation. Way before our time sports went on to endure both World War 1 and the 1918 flu pandemic. Even during the civil war there was a disruption in sports. Baseball was less than two decades old and players were taken to war causing clubs to fold or play reduced schedules.

The 1918 flu arrived in the spring, but the second wave hit stronger in the fall right at the onset of the college football season. With a shortage of players due to the war, discussions to cancel the season were already underway when the flu returned.

Michigan had played only one game when the governor shut down public gatherings. Nonetheless, as flu cases subsided in November 1918, more games were played. Michigan and Pitt were declared co-champions, despite playing only five games each.

More recently, 9/11 brought security concerns and on the day of the attacks, Major League Baseball immediately postponed all 15 games. Over the next six days, 91 games were cancelled. However, games resumed on September 17, and the World Series was played in November.

The Super Bowl was set back, but went on as planned.

The current sports shut down,is unprecedented. It has touched every level of every game, in every country in the world. from the olympics down to pickup basketball. We’re making plans here at the newspaper to print our fall schedule book and publish the annual football tab. Schedules for the most part can be found on the WVSSAC Website, so we see schools are hoping for the best as well.

My heart will break for older teens if they don’t get to play sports this fall, because of the coronavirus.

Most are nearing the end of their competitive sports days, and you hate to see them robbed. It happened this spring lets hope that’s the end of it.

For the younger kids, I see a silver lining. They may or may not have little league or T-Ball, but it’s a chance for them to do more kids stuff, fewer games, or no games for a year or so, could be a very good thing for kids. Almost from the time they’re born, too many kids heed a schedule. Starting at 4-5 years old, you can be signed up for sports leagues, and practice four or five days a week. They burn out, seventy percent of children quit playing sports by the time they are 13.

Right now the precautions and requirements have relaxed and we’re all excited and feeling good to see restaurants opening, swimming pools filled with people, and somewhat of a way of life we’ve been accustomed to slowly returning.

Just keep in mind it’s not over by a long shot. We can continue to have sports, we can continue to have normal activity, but we still need to err on the side of precaution. In the battle against the coronavirus, sports cannot be totally relied upon. In fact, sports are among the culprits that led to massive outbreaks and spread of the virus in places around the globe.

In all of this, there’s an important point to consider. We’re still trying to adapt to the many jarring changes to our routines. I am excited at how quickly sports has bounced back, I marvel at many of the other activities that have resumed and how life has kinda picked up right where it left off.

I am happy for the reopening of society. I can’t wait for the return of pro-baseball, the start of football, high schoolers hitting the volleyball court, cross country meets, all the things that make the sports world go round. I am happy to see people back in the empty church buildings, and most of all people returning to work.

There’s still a lot of protesting and other things going on and for the most part travel is not on the top of my list of things to do. I feel like we are very fortunate to live right here in what I see as one of the safest places in the nation. Let’s all do our part to keep it that way. Wear your mask, practice good hygiene, social distance, and take precautions. As we look across the country there is a rise in infections from the virus and more people are dying each day, according to the numbers put out by the CDC. We have surpassed 116,000 deaths. Stay safe and have a great summer, filled with activitiy. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com