The pressure is on for decision-makers right now.
Should businesses be allowed to reopen? If so, what precautions and restrictions should be required? When should they be opened? When can kids go back to school? How can we safely get those in need the meals and supplies they need to stay nourished and educated?
There’s a balance between safety needs and financial ramifications that’s incredibly hard to understand if you’re not the one making the decision. Certainly no one wants the solution to become bigger than the problem, but the solution can’t also allow for endless amounts of people to get sick and die.
Some people are being overly precautious, and that’s probably good for them. Others are throwing caution to the wind, which is questionable but also not my place to judge. Then most people are middle of the roaders, who are doing things like wearing masks and not gathering as often as possible, who are trying to balance wanting to “get back to normal” while also being safe for themselves and their loved ones.
One of the last things on a lot of people’s minds is sports, but for me, it’s the first thing on my mind. “Getting back to normal” for me means sports. I’m all for helping out where need be and I’m glad to be a part of such an incredible news team, but I need sports. I need to see someone throw a ball or hit a pitch or score a point, and I need it soon. I’m going crazy over here, and many of the people in my world are feeling the insanity set in too.
However, sports are a whole different ballgame — no pun intended.
By nature, sports bring people together. Can you imagine a sports world with no fans? I wouldn’t want to. Can you imagine a sports world with no concession stands and no cameras and no lights? It just wouldn’t be the same.
And even if you take all those things away, you still have a lot of people involved. Heck, for most high schools, the football coaching staff alone is more than 10 people. I understand that mandate limiting gatherings to fewer than 10 people will be lifted under Gov. Kay Ivey’s new safer-at-home order, but I certainly don’t agree with it. Anyway, if you add in players, officials, trainers and score keepers, you’re talking about at least a couple hundred people at a high school football game with only the most essential people there.
Plus, football is a contact sport. There’s no other way to put it. There’s sweat and spit and who knows what else flying around down there in the trenches, and there’s absolutely no way to avoid it. That goes for almost every sport with so much focus on the weight room these days, but especially in football.
In all of this, the powers that be at the AHSAA have to make sound decisions. There is so much to consider, but the top priority for the AHSAA has always been the safety and well-being of the student-athletes. There are major financial ramifications for member schools if football doesn’t happen — and not just for football teams, but for many, many other programs and people who benefit from the season.
However, the AHSAA has taken things day by day — not wanting to make a drastic decision either way. From everything I’ve heard, the committees making decisions involve coaches and administrators from schools, and there will be contingency plans upon contingency plans. The bottom line is there’s no easy answer.
“I would be very disappointed at anybody that would be critiquing the athletic association for how they’re handling things during this time of so many unknowns,” Reeltown football coach and athletic director Matt Johnson said recently. “I hate we’re in this position and they’re in this position; they’re having to make some tough decisions and they’re trying to hold it all together.”
It’s important now we just be patient and wait as the people in charge were hired to do a job and they’re going to do it to the best of their ability. We’re all itching to get back to the sports field but the AHSAA knows what it’s doing.