We live in some terrifying, confusing times don't we? With the coronavirus putting the sports world (and our entire world overall) on pause, real life needs to be set as our priority at this time. This COVID-19 scare is no joke and should be taken as seriously as our higher ups present it.
NYSPHSAA announced on Friday that the high school winter championships were to be postponed, as well as the National Federation of State High School Associations postponing the spring sports schedule for the moment. As of now, the many coaches and athletic directors in our area have been left in a wait-and-see approach.
All this unclarity pushed me to reach out to some people whose words are often left unaddressed on issues like these; fans. Many parents, friends, classmates, families and more tune in to our high school athletes competing throughout the year and have a vested interest in what goes about in their sports worlds.
So what I did was I posted a question on the 'Inside High School Sports' page on Facebook: "What do you think is the best plan of action to take towards the spring sports season?"
Obviously, this sparked some discussion and led to nearly 30 comments on the post. And with the Niagara Frontier League making a decision on the spring sports season on March 31, as well as the Buffalo Public Schools postponing the spring season until further notice, these suggestions may not even be taken into consideration.
Regardless, many Section VI fans chimed in to deep dive on this case.
One thought I was happy to see and was hoping was brought up was that this time of year is already very tricky for our spring sports teams. Often times, March is the weirdest weather month of the year and it leaves our spring teams either fighting to even get out on their fields or taking trips down south to salvage the lost time.
And to think this all happens when we've had arguably our mildest winter in years, as well as spring-like conditions for the better part of the year. This method of thinking may be why we saw many sharing the same thought process about the spring season.
The most popular suggestion was to postpone the spring season and wait things out a few weeks. One comment shared a thought of pushing things back to either the middle of April (or even May 1) and going right into league play from there. Wrapping up a short regular season schedule, then the kids would be able to turn that around to go right into sectionals.
I was pretty aligned with this and am holding out hope that this could be the case.
As expected, most people want the spring season to be "postponed" rather than "cancelling" it outright. Some feel that everything should be aligned with their schools, though; if their school is closed, practices should hold off as well.
There were some who thought the schools should just tough it out by letting the kids practice while the season schedule is put on hold, even with much uncertainty about COVID-19.
Even though I'm sure some don't see where these people are coming from, one commenter said that they feel outdoor sports like baseball, softball, lacrosse and etc., are not as prevalent with people cramming in next to each other as spectators, so it should not be taken out on the players. This person also feels that if any procedures are put in place that they should be to prevent fans attending these games, as well as players and coaches needing to be tested.
This discussion also left some desiring for the winter championships to be reinstated, leading to a whole nother wormhole that we could explore.
Being able to make this post was nice because of the different perspectives shared. We saw the parent of a senior spring sport student athlete urging for practice to be upheld, then pushing the season back by two weeks as a buffer time.
We also got to hear from two spring sports coaches, which is always nice with them knowing the ins and outs of different districts. Both of which pointed out that most schools come back from spring breaks on April 20, so this could be a target date to look ahead to as a potential start.
One of the coaches also has 10 seniors, so they brought forth some other dilemmas to the table. What do these student athletes do if their entire senior season is lost? How could they even get that season back? Will those fringe scholarship kids even make it to the next level? How does this affect their college recruitments?
Some of these kids could be entering their final competitive athletic seasons too.
The most impactful comment, in my opinion, was about hearing from these kids and letting them share their stories through this process. At the end of the day, this affects us all. But no one will be affected anymore than the way these players will be.
So many kids use sports for different avenues, whether that's socially, for self esteem, health benefits and etc. The many lessons from the game will all be missed.
So I wanted to make sure I extend this piece with you so that your voice is heard. All local high school sports fans out there, please reach out so we can add you to the discussion. We'll be expecting more updates to come throughout the week, so I'm waiting to hear you all speak on it.
But until then, stay safe y'all, wash those hands, take precautions the way you would in any other time and make sure to take this situation very seriously. We don't need people to be ignorant with their actions.
All of us depend on it, not just you.
Respond to sports reporter Khari Demos on Twitter @riri_demos or at email@example.com. Also, tune in to Khari at 10 a.m. on Saturdays on WGR 550’s ‘Inside High School Sports,’ as well as the ‘Greater WNY Sports Connection’ podcast, a collaboration with Jon Simon and WNY Athletics.