Notes, quotes and a thought or two..
I think any sports fan would agree with me that 2020 has been the craziest year they have ever seen.
We have seen things in the last six months than nobody has ever seen before. We went from playing baseball during the first days of spring break to cancelling spring sports as the coronavirus spread around the country. It didn’t take long for our professional sports to shut down, which nobody had ever seen before.
We finally started to ease things up at the beginning of the summer and let our high school kids return to summer workouts but with restrictions. No large groups, masks and everyone brought their own water. Eventually, there were some travel ball tournaments and kids started playing ball again.
Just a few weeks ago, the Mississippi High School Activities Association pushed back the start of the football season two weeks. After-school practice won’t start until Aug. 17 with “preseason” games scheduled for Aug. 28.
Then on Friday, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves made a surprising announcement that is designed to limit the number of fans to high school games for the next few weeks. Reeves’ order will limit two spectators per participant for sporting events.
Reeves’ announcement certainly drew plenty of reaction, both positive and negative. I understand Reeves is trying exposure but at the same time keep from cancelling high school sports. By limiting the number of fans who can enter the game, the governor is taking some of the responsibility off the schools. But it also creates a nightmare situation for the schools in trying to determine who gets the tickets and who is not allowed inside.
It also creates a budget issue for schools with home games. Some schools count on football gate receipts to help fund the sports budget for the year. The revenue from that few fans will barely pay the officials and cut on the lights. Not long after the governor’s announcement, the Jackson Public schools announced they were cancelling fall sports. More and more schools systems, especially in the Mississippi Delta are cancelling fall sports.
The order is only effective until the end of August. I would hope that the governor would reconsider this one. I know I was at a high school jamboree on Thursday where six different schools were represented. There were plenty of fans coming and going and I saw plenty of masks and for the most part, people stayed within their groups.
I feel like people are smart enough to stay away from people they don’t know and stay within their own groups. Most people have accepted that they have to wear masks in public and will accept that they have to do what they need to do to see their kids play sports.
While the state’s public schools are on hold this week, the state’s private schools will kick off action this week. Locally, Newton County Academy will host Porter’s Chapel on Friday night. I’m sure the public schools are watching closely to see how it goes for the private schools. I know one coach I talked to said he was sure pulling for the private schools and praying that things went well. Because if things go well for the private schools, it will be easier for the public schools.
But just know this. Whatever is truth this week can change quickly. If you don’t believe me, just wait and see. I don’t know what they are but I can promise, there are more changes coming to what we are all accustomed to.
Robbie Robertson is sports editor for The Newton County Appeal. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org