Still a ways to go


By Bryan Walters - bwalters@aimmediamidwest.com



Wahama senior Hannah Rose hammers out a home run during an April 2, 2019, softball contest against Eastern at Don Jackson Field in Tuppers Plains, Ohio.

Wahama senior Hannah Rose hammers out a home run during an April 2, 2019, softball contest against Eastern at Don Jackson Field in Tuppers Plains, Ohio.


Bryan Walters|OVP Sports

Gallia Academy senior Alex Barnes leaps through the air during an attempt in the long jump held May 6, 2019, at the Battle for the Anchor meet held against Point Pleasant in Centenary, Ohio.


Bryan Walters|OVP Sports

Hard to believe, but today marks the 5-week passing of the high school sports world shutting down in both Ohio and West Virginia.

It was Thursday, March 12, the morning after the National Basketball Association announced that it was shutting down the remainder of its regular season just the night before.

We all know why.

West Virginia had successfully started its state girls basketball tournament the day before and was actually nine games into the annual event, then COVID-19 stopped things early that Thursday afternoon.

In Ohio, the first of four state semifinal matchups managed to get completed before the plug was pulled on the girls basketball tournament.

The Thursday decision to postpone tournaments also came the day before the OHSAA Individual Wrestling Tournament was to start.

Boys basketball was working its way up to regional championships on both sides of the Ohio River as well.

Both states made the proper call the day these infamous decisions were made, but it has been a difficult decision for many people to come to grips with. At least at first.

To have athletic endeavors lost — rather it be kids competing in state level winter tournaments or starting one last sport before the summer arrived — has been tough on everyone … particularly current members of senior classes.

Instead of practicing things like baton exchanges for relays or double-steal opportunities over the past 35 days, we’ve all been left to practice social distancing and quarantining.

Hopefully, and that is the key word here, there is a light at this end of this very dark tunnel.

Ohio announced a contingency plan a week ago that provided a possibility of spring sports returning, as long as school was back in session by the beginning of May.

Ohio is prepared to adjust its school schedule — both academically and athletically — into June to compensate for the time lost to COVID-19.

In talking with a handful of coaches and school officials in Mason County, West Virginia appears to be eyeing a similar approach to its spring schedule — pending on where things stand as of May 1.

So basically, after five weeks of waiting, we still have at least two more weeks of hanging out before any kind of decision is made by either state.

That doesn’t make things any easier either, but we are within a reasonable striking distance.

Maybe.

More than anything right now, we need to keep doing the things that have allowed us to reach a point where the possibility of re-opening schools is within reach.

If that happens, then the possibility of getting back out on the diamond, or out on the track, or out on the court become a bit more realistic.

As a sports reporter, I find myself missing the daily grind of telling about the wins and losses, and all of those special moments that made the difference in those outcomes.

More than anything though, it’s tough not seeing so many of the people that I’ve come to enjoy running into at events. The coaches, the players, the parents and fans that help make the contest that much more complete.

Much like the athletes and coaches involved, I too am chomping at the bit for some sort of a spring sports season.

But, at the same time, I have also come to the realization that spring sports might not happen this year. And if they don’t, it’s been for a reason greater than anyone could possibly predict.

In the end, we might do all of the right things and still not have sports for the foreseeable future — but that doesn’t make the battle a lost cause.

The goal is to get back to a basic kind of normalcy, not back into the sports scene.

The sports scene would, however, be a nice little added bonus.

So, with any luck, maybe we’ll be back out taking photos and writing stories of the sporting accomplishments of our area’s youth somewhere around May.

And, if not, then hopefully we can discuss some sports news in June, July or August.

It’s the thought of still not talking about high school sports into September that really worries me. And it should concern you too.

Keep washing those hands, practice social distancing and avoid unnecessary trips while quarantining with your families. A lot of people are really counting on that over the next couple of weeks.

Wahama senior Hannah Rose hammers out a home run during an April 2, 2019, softball contest against Eastern at Don Jackson Field in Tuppers Plains, Ohio.
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2020/04/web1_4.16-WAH-Rose.jpgWahama senior Hannah Rose hammers out a home run during an April 2, 2019, softball contest against Eastern at Don Jackson Field in Tuppers Plains, Ohio. Bryan Walters|OVP Sports

Gallia Academy senior Alex Barnes leaps through the air during an attempt in the long jump held May 6, 2019, at the Battle for the Anchor meet held against Point Pleasant in Centenary, Ohio.
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2020/04/web1_4.16-GA-Barnes.jpgGallia Academy senior Alex Barnes leaps through the air during an attempt in the long jump held May 6, 2019, at the Battle for the Anchor meet held against Point Pleasant in Centenary, Ohio. Bryan Walters|OVP Sports

By Bryan Walters

bwalters@aimmediamidwest.com

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.