Definitely a big ‘dose of reality’ without sports, especially for our seniors who are in ‘limbo’

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, March 18, 2020

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After covering Orange County sports now for 27 years, a big dose of reality has set in already this week.

For the first time, other than bad weather, I was sitting at home watching a movie on Netflix instead of at a ballpark or a track meet during what has usually been a fun spring sports season.

Like many, I have had a fast and furious week of mayhem and disbelief, mainly thinking. “Can this really be happening.”

Instead of dealing with home runs, double plays and how far that toss was in the discus, I have been dealing with school administrators on school closures, when do kids go back to school, how are they going to learn from online at home and the list goes on.

Now, my heart aches for all of the kids as they await their fate on whether or not their seasons are over, whether or not they can attend their proms, or if they will get a chance to cross that stage to get their diplomas.

Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, we all wait in limbo. Like the rest of the country and governing bodies such as the NCAA, NBA and MLB offices, the UIL has suspended all contests. All UIL interscholastic activities are suspended through Mar. 29, but, unfortunately, I see it going longer than that.

I just feel so sorry for the kids, coaches and parents, especially the kids that are seniors. So many of us through all the amazing years we’ve had playing and watching sports in Southeast Texas have gotten to play their senior year. Everyone got to have their Senior Night. Everyone knew what their last game was. Hopefully, our local senior won’t have to remember March, Friday the 13th, 2020 as their last game representing their school.

The underclassmen will have their chances down the road, the 12th graders may not.

In 2019, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, over 825,000 high school athletes participated in sports in Texas. Now their outlet is gone, at least for a few weeks.

That’s a huge number, and don’t you know all the kids or going “stir crazy.”

The UIL has handled the situation better than the NCAA. The two-week suspension of interscholastic activities may end up being extended for a month. Maybe it goes for two months. But at least the option to quickly return to athletic, academic and artistic competitions is left as a slight possibility.

The other sad thing that has really bothered me is people going around bashing the media. Stop using the media as a scapegoat to creating mass hysteria.

The most significant difference between this kind of news compared to a decade ago, is the widespread presence of social media. As a member of the press, let me assure you that we don’t want the cancelation of the events we enjoy covering.

Social media takes what the media reports and creates more hysteria than the newspapers and TV stations could hope to currently produce.

Our job is to present data and facts to the public. Yes, it is hard to trust the news that serves more like political propaganda than actual news for a lot of media outlets, especially some of the national ones, and both sides of the political fence are guilty of that.

The one thing that has long helped out our country in enduring a national crisis was its games, and, now, suddenly, the games have disappeared, poof, vanished.

Just when we need to hear cheering, there is nothing to cheer for. We could all use a good fight song right now, but the bands have been silenced.

Just think of how many times we check our phones for scores? How many times have we had a tough day at work but we knew we had the promise of a great game that night on the tube? How many of the best conversations in our daily life revolve around sports?

So, here I am looking at state baseball and softball polls and area track leaders and still thinking what can be.

Bridge City baseball is 15-0-1 and was recently ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 4A and just may be one of the most deepest, talented baseball teams I have seen in all my years and we know that Coach Chad Landry has had some great teams over the years and this could be legitimately his best.

Orangefield baseball has been rolling as well once again and the Bobcats are ranked No. 24 in Class 3A and stand at 9-3. The LC-M baseball team has seen tremendous early season success with nice wins and WO-S has vastly improved.

In softball, the Orangefield Lady Bobcats have climbed to No. 9 in the state 3A poll after a 19-2 start for Coach Rebekah Ragsdale.

The LC-M Lady Bears could be destined for yet another District 22-4A title for long-time coach Dena Adkins and the Bridge City Lady Cardinals could certainly be in the hunt for first-year coach Raven Cole.

But for now, we are all here playing the “waiting game” and trying to knock this horrible virus out of the park. And it is up to all of us to grab our bats to do that and do what is best right now to keep our country safe.

I just sure hope that our kids get to finish writing their stories this spring and I would love to write stories about it.