Like it or not, Americans are getting used to a new normal: no sports while the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is causing disruptions around the country.
The NBA, NHL, NASCAR and Major League Baseball have been shut down indefinitely, and the NCAA canceled its basketball tournaments – as well as its entire spring sports seasons.
At the prep level, schools are hoping the same fate doesn’t befall their teams and players.
“At this time, spring sports are just postponed. We are hoping we can get back out there in May,” said Jason Smith, Troy Buchanan High School athletic director.
“Spring sports for Lincoln County have been postponed until May 1,” Winfield High School Athletic Director Robert James said. “Hopefully, we can get back to the classroom and the playing surface at this time.
“I think all parties have done a great job of communicating and making the best decision to keep everyone safe and we will hold onto hope that we can play at some point this spring.”
The COVID-19 shutdown is heavily impacting the student athletes who are unable to meet with college scouts, or give those scouts one more opportunity to prove their value to programs across the country. Nevertheless, area students plan to press on during a novel time.
Tyson Ludwig, a senior infielder at Troy Buchanan, said he’s been doing drills on the football field to keep his footwork straight, taking ground balls and getting swings in the batting cage in case there is a truncated baseball season. He has also been preparing for life after high school.
“I was already interested in a college before spring sports got postponed, and was interested in a junior college in Wisconsin, and have been in touch with their head coach,” Ludwig said. “I do plan on playing college baseball at the next level.”
On the other hand, Michael Kinne, a senior on Winfield’s baseball team, hasn’t been contacted by any schools since the novel coronavirus outbreak, but has been working out every day getting himself ready for the possibility of a shortened season. Kinne said he hasn’t contacted any schools, and even though he’s disappointed the outbreak might rob him of a chance to continue his baseball career in college, there’s no reason to dwell on what might have been.
“I have not [contacted any colleges], and I honestly don’t know if I’ll play sports in college,” Kinne said. “Yes, I am very bummed [about the season possibly getting canceled], but life goes on.” Smith said that while many athletes’ scholarship opportunities at his school have been affected by COVID-19, several of them have already signed letters of intent, or have committed, to play in college.
However, he does have a few words of advice to those who have not yet gotten any offers from schools at this point.
“For those that haven’t, I’d encourage them email college coaches where they have interest,” Smith said. “I’d also tell them to reach out to their high school coach if they need help with finding a college.”
James said he has not been able to stay in contact with many of his players due to the coronavirus, but many of the spring sports athletes fortunately signed letters of intent during the early signing period.