It is a weekend that almost wasn’t and even though the matchups for the first round of the football playoffs are set, we could be looking at half of the games never kicking off!
It is certainly no secret Governor Jim Justice toyed with the idea last week of cancelling all post season play in high school sports. In fact, in a story that appeared on this website last week, Governor Justice acknowledged recent conversations about whether to maintain the map of virus spread that determines status, whether to change the game plan or whether to punt.
“I hate for one team to miss it (state championship) and it makes me sick, but at the same time I don’t know what else to do right now,” Justice said during a briefing last Friday about West Virginia’s coronavirus response.
The governor described putting those questions — “knowing these decisions are flat-dog tough” — to officials like state Superintendent Clayton Burch, health leaders and Bernie Dolan, executive director of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.
It was great to see the Governor run his thoughts by much cooler heads because they recommended sticking with the color-coded map that halts classroom instruction and extracurricular activities when heightened rates of spread are depicted as orange or red.
Justice said, “they feel like they have to continue using the existing education map and DHHR county alert system map to guide us through the decisions on these counties.”
Well, thank the Good Lord they did!! Can you imagine telling those high school kids who have already had to deal with the “impossible to explain Covid map” more than anyone else in the state, that “I know you played hard in the few games you got to experience this season and I know you were expecting a chance to play for a state championship, but the coronavirus is spreading again and we are going to cancel all post season play”! WHAT???? To even be thinking about cancelling post season play for the same group of young people that the experts agreed were not the super spreaders of the virus is almost mind blowing! Now I readily admit I am super biased when it comes to high school athletics and the young men and women who play the sports they love and dream about winning a state championship for their school! And, before anyone asks, I certainly don’t have the answers needed to combat Covid 19. But, I remember the looks on the faces of those young men and women who had worked so hard to make it to the high school basketball state tournament last March and, because of decisions made concerning a virus we all knew nothing about at the time, instead of moving on to the Friday semi-finals, those athletes boarded their school buses and headed back home! I remember talking with a few of those young athletes as they were getting on the school bus and one senior player told me her team felt like this was the year – this was their solid chance to win a state title, but through no fault of their own, their dream was gone! And please….for every adult reading this….don’t say “it’s just a game – they will get over it”! Believe me, to those young athletes, being a part of something as important as their high school team, it is so much more that just a game! Now, I’m honest when I say….I don’t know what the answer is to Covid 19, except to simply turn it over to the Good Lord, knowing he is the one truly in charge! And, I would not want to be the one that has to make hard decisions about what to do concerning Covid 19! That’s one of the many reasons I have never ran for a political office – and, I also doubt very seriously I would ever get enough votes to win! I also know I am not a health expert that could ever advise the folks in charge about what to do with this virus. I just simply know this – it’s time we give the kids a pass! Instead of dumping bad decisions on them, we as adults, should come up with ideas where everyone shares the burden of Covid 19. And who knows…..if the coronavirus is still affecting our way of life in another year (and it just might be)…..maybe, just maybe one of this year’s graduating seniors will show us a plan that works…..and I mean a plan that really works! It could happen!
By the way……since this is suppose to be a high school football commentary about the games this week…..you can find them all on the high school page of our website….www.wvmetronews.com!
And, just another reminder….Dave Jecklin and I will be on the air at 9:30 this Friday night all across the great state of WV for High School GAMENIGHT……please join us then for all the scores!