Hurry up and wait.
That should be the theme song for coaches at this point.
A historical year promises to deliver even more historic events (or non-events) in the upcoming weeks.
I certainly never envisioned walking into a locker room the first day of football practice and finding players working out in masks and using social distance.
So how in the world is someone going to spot someone else pushing weights off the bar?
I can certainly understand the frustrations of coaches who every day lost means that much more work toward getting their team ready physically and mentally for the upcoming season.
Coaches are trying to put their athletes in the best position to help the team while wondering if they are going to have to put in new safety requirements and instructions at the last minute.
So last week the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s executive committee has unanimously voted to postpone all high school summer workouts until June 8.
Under the original summer rules, sports programs would have been able to begin workouts May 17, but after meeting via conference call Wednesday, the committee voted to postpone the start.
“Today (Wednesday), the LHSAA Executive committee took into account any/all information provided by updates, inter-committee discussion and staff recommendation and made a decision to postpone the first day of permissive LHSAA Summer Rules to Monday, June 8, 2020 in all sports in all LHSAA member schools. ...”
The LHSAA said the decision was made after hearing updates from the LHSAA Executive Committee Liaison for the Louisiana Department of Education, the Director for Louisiana High School Coaches Association and the Director for the Louisiana High School Officials Association.
The executive committee’s decision likely surprised many high school programs in the state, who envisioned beginning summer workouts as early as Sunday, once the Phase I reopening of the state begins Friday.
The LHSAA cites Louisiana’s K-12 Supportive Guidance and the American Academy of Pediatrics guidance, stating Phase I group sizes cannot exceed 10, including adults, and no contact sports are allowed.
So, in other words, we don’t want to decide anything right now.
The statement looks and sounds good. But the bottom line is you aren’t doing anything to help out coaches eager to get back to their players.
And, call it being a bit objective if you want, but coaches are going to be the sacrificial lambs when the inevitable cost-cutting begins.
In Tennessee, the Wilson County school district put up a proposal to cut coaching supplements for the 2020-21 school year.
That proposal, if passed, will give other districts in the state reason enough to follow along because they can blame Wilson County.
There was this quote from Sumner County athletics director Mike Brown to the Tennessean.com.
“Anytime you discuss budget cuts, that’s one of the first things they target because its visible and emotional,” said Sumner County athletics director Mike Brown. “It’s like cutting music. When these budget issues arise, the talk is usually cutting athletics or cutting music.”
High school coaches across Tennessee receive a stipend outside of their base salary as a teacher for the effort and time spent with their programs throughout the school year.
And elsewhere, the Kentucky Department of Education recommended that all athletic coaches receive non-renewal letters for the upcoming athletic season due to the uncertainty of when school athletics will resume. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said all school-owned athletic facilities and properties are to remain closed through June 30.
Look, I understand all the safety precautions. And I’m concerned with the relaxed mandates.
And I also understand life has to go on and a movement needs to be made to get back to normal or nothing will ever be normal again.
I have never in my life seen such a division regarding a major issue. I listen to both sides and nod my head.
I also feel heartbroken for the players and coaches unable to finish out their final sporting season.
It’s the questions with no answers that is driving every sports fan crazy.
Is one player testing positive enough to warrant a two-week stoppage? What if it’s more? Could a team quarantine as many players as it wanted and keep playing as long as it still had enough to field a team?
What happens if there is a case at the high school? Do you shut down the campus? How does affect extra-curricular activities?
And what if we have football games with very limited or no fans in the stands?
Yeah, try and keep Ferriday fans out of Melz Field on football Friday night.
I would not want to be the school official or officers keeping peace in that situation.
No, I don’t know the solution.
But I will adhere to all guidelines presented.
Wearing a mask or gloves or both for almost three hours at a football game would be worth being able to watch that game.
And if it’s too dangerous for a football game to be played because of the numbers of those still affected, then I’ll stay home and do whatever is required to get things back to normal.
There’s no winner when it comes to deciding what needs to be done as the football season keeps getting closer and closer.
Just don’t sacrifice the coaches. They certainly didn’t bring all this on. But they may be the ones everyone will be counting on for guidance.
Fortunately in this parish with the quality coaches we have at all the schools that would not be a bad thing.