Decision on season will come eventually

Let me start by saying, “I don’t know.” I don’t know what should be done about high school fall sports.

I know that plenty of people on various social media know exactly what should happen, but they aren’t the people who actually have to make the decision — and neither am I.

I also know that for each person who knows what to do, there is someone else who also knows, but their solution is the opposite of the first person’s solution.

Those who will end up making decisions are understandably playing a waiting game, hoping for things to change in a positive direction.

The world is in a situation that it has rarely experienced, and our country has suffered more than any other the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But I easily understand the concern that student-athletes, coaches, parents, family members, etc., have about missing the fall sports season. These same student-athletes missed out on the spring sports season earlier this year.

It’s easy to downplay the negatives of the situation when there is something you really want to do, something you’ve been doing for most of your life, and something that provides you with positive life lessons that you can carry forward.

But those negatives — spreading or contracting a virus that has and continues to cause illness and death — remain, no matter how much we want to resume our normal lives.

Coaches have been tasked with being more than coach, counselor, leader, teacher, etc. — responsibilities they have always embraced. Now they also must be concerned with so much more.

I have no doubt that in the Mahoning Valley — and elsewhere — coaches will rise to the occasion and do everything they can to ensure the student-athletes in their charge are kept safe from the virus.

The plan that the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association — led by Lakeview coach Tom Pavlansky — put together and sent on to the Ohio High School Athletic Association and Gov. Mike DeWine was a thorough explanation of how the proper safety precautions could work to keep players safe.

But there are so many other factors involved, factors that could — probably will — take any decisions away from coaches.

We take pride that school districts in Ohio are locally run and decisions are made by residents of our communities — our school board members — with guidance from a superintendent and staff.

That itself could cause problems as each school district will come up with its own decision regarding school sports and the structure through which our kids will be educated. If a few districts decide not to play, that affects schedules throughout the area.

In addition, some will argue that if we are concerned enough to keep students out of the school buildings for education purposes, then how can we allow them to participate in activities which could easily increase the spread of the virus.

Other factors that will play a role in the final decision include the differences from county to county and from state to state regarding the intensity of the spread of the virus. Don’t forget that medical experts were talking in the spring about a resurgence of the virus in the fall.

Everyone wants fall sports to be played. But those expressing fears of playing aren’t wrong. After all, this virus already has killed more than 150,000 Americans.

In the end, whatever decisions are made will be greeted positively by some and negatively by others.

What will that decision be? I just don’t know.


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