It’s hard for anyone alive to imagine what is going through the minds of many high school senior baseball, softball, and tennis or track and field player at present. I’ve been involved in the sports field for a good 30 years, and this statewide shutdown is a first for me. Spring sports have been at a standstill for more than two weeks, and the TSSAA state high school basketball tournament has yet to be played. And the ruling on Monday, March 24, probably means that it won’t be played at all.
Tennessee governor Bill Lee extended the statewide school closure to April 24, 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. TSSAA stated that they are continually monitoring the developments related to the Covid19 health concern. Their hope and goal is that they’ll be able to resume the girls state basketball tournament and possibly hold the boy’s state tournament. They used the word hoped many times as they addressed the media, but any thoughts of playing spring sports at this juncture is nothing more than hope.
With school out until April 24, high school would have a small window to play their season. Most schools are only a few games into their current schedule. Johnson County’s softball team has played two games, as has the boys’ baseball team. The heartbreaking news for Johnson County is that the tennis team had a good shot at reaching the state tournament and will likely miss out on getting a chance to earn that berth.
The Cox sisters, Taylor and Olivia, also had a chance to make it to three state tournaments in a row and will likely miss out on that opportunity, which would have been a real milestone.
The worse case of all is the many senior athletes that have the chance of possibly playing at the college level. Several girl athletes were drawing attention, and the team was off to a 2-0 start under second-year head coach Greg Reece, which will make him the only coach in school history to go undefeated during a softball season.
Providing that spring sports was able to resume who is to say that the weather here in Johnson County would be like it is now as to where games could be played. There are a lot of factors when it comes to spring sports resuming, but you can take this to the bank from me.
“Without spring practice in football, they should start the high school season a week later next year than in past years to allow an extra week of practice for the coaches and do away with what they call “passing league play.”
We will report as we get updated information about the TSSAA and what goes on in their meetings about high school athletics.