Uncertainty continues for local schools, spring sports

By ROBBIE ROBERTSON,

Notes, quotes and a thought or two…

I can’t say at this moment what’s going to happen in high school athletics this spring but all I know is that nobody is going to be playing until April 17.

And honestly, I don’t see spring sports starting up again this school year. I think the next high school sports we see will be high school football in August. And I have seen several people question whether that is going to happen.

It’s a shame that something like this had to happen. I feel for those seniors who might have swung a bat for the last time or played their sport for the last time.

But there are two teams I do feel for sorry for if this is indeed the last of spring sports.

The first is the Newton County Academy baseball team. I have seen the Generals play in person a couple of times and there is no doubt in my mind that this is a state championship team. Led by Ole Miss signee Kemp Alderman, the Generals are loaded with good pitching and good hitting. NCA has never won a state championship in baseball and head coach Kelly Alderman has built a championship-caliber team. Let’s hope they get a chance to finish it.

The second is the Union powerlifting team, which has won back-to-back state championships and was headed for another title. The Yellowjackets qualified 12 lifters for the state meet and were headed for another title for head coach Daryl Jones. Junior strong man Jacob Moore had already squatted more than 700 pounds and was headed for more before this stoppage.

I don’t know whether these teams will get to finish out the season or not. I certainly hope so, not just for the kids, but for a sense of regularity at this point.

Structure

When talking with Newton County football coach Bobby Bass, he mentioned one word that really stuck out to me and that was structure.

“I need the structure, I think the kids need the structure,” Bass said.

I can totally, one hundred percent agree with that. It’s so easy for fall into some bad habits when you don’t have to get up and go to school every day. It can be easy to sleep late and become slack in some areas, even as an adult.

So just imagine how that is for our kids.

“I just hope they are doing the right things,” Bass said. “I hope they are taking care of their bodies, eating the right things, working out and doing the right things. I hope they are hanging out with the right people. That’s the thing, school provides a lot of structure for these kids. It takes a lot of self-discipline to do the right thing when nobody is watching and standing right over you.”

Alternate programming

This past Saturday, CBS showed a replay the Duke and Kentucky basketball game from 1992 NCAA tournament. Since they don’t have live sports, they are dipping into their expansive library.

I told my son Marshall that he needed to watch the last few minutes of that contest as it might be the best basketball game I had ever watched.

He took up a seat and watched. He knew a couple of the players but not many. For him, it was just like live sports and he enjoyed it. Then there came the iconic play that made the NCAA Tournament what it is today when Christian Laettner hit that turn-around jump shot at the buzzer to give Duke the win. Even Marshall was amazed by the play and gave me a “wow.”

I remember watching that game live and it was just as good 28 years later as it was the day it happened.

All-county team

It’s been a while since I’ve done an all-county basketball team but this seemed like the perfect time to revive that.

So here are a couple of things that I learned from this process.

First off, coaches are really easy to get in touch with and, just like most of us, just love talking to somebody different while we are all in quarantine.

Secondly, while practicing social distancing, we can’t really put together a team photo like I would normally do. So now, we have to text the members of the team and get them to all take selfies and send back to us. I normally think kids take way too many selfies but here was a perfect opportunity to put all that practice to work.

Robbie Robertson is sports editor for The Newton County Appeal. You can email him at rrobertson12811@yahoo.com.