VHSL made the right decision

From the sidelines

By Marty Gordon


A lot of sports fans will be upset with me, but I believe the Virginia High School League made the right decision last week about the future of high school sports.

Everyone, including me, would love to see high school football and other fall sports in the next few months. But there is so much more at stake in life that we have to worry about.

This COVID-19 thing has changed the way we look at and do everything, and we have to still use precaution. I know at first I was one the many people that laughed at the dangers. That all changed as the numbers have climbed here in the New River Valley.

We need to do more to take precautions in this matter, and I don’t know if playing sports is a risk we should take

We have to still take this virus seriously, and yes, it means doing things we never thought we would have to.

The extra sanitizing will cost us even more, and there will need to be more staff added in public schools.

Now the question is whether college football should be played. I am again split on this. I would love to see the Hokies and the Irish back on the field, but is it worth it?

I do not know how we can play these sports in a safe way. Already there are problems with Major League Baseball and how they are attempting to play 60 games.

It is human nature not to do a lot of these things that we need to do to prevent infection. On top of that, there are many of us doing everything possible to avoid the virus, but it still sneaks up on us.

We have to care more about life than about a simple ball game. We must keep these kids from ages 6 to 21 safe. We still do not know how the younger age group will be affected when they are faced with the virus.

Let’s just look at football. The precautions will include limiting the number of people in the stands. That in turn affects the funding for those high school sports. It will also limit the much larger public schools in allowing family members into the stadiums. Players and staff are included in the 250 max the Virginia High School League has talked about.

The VHSL has issued some of its plans for a completely December to June schedule for all sports. They include particularly heavy emphasis on what must be done in the way of sanitizing and prevention to keep athletes and coaches safe and thus allow for the games to be played. A recap is elsewhere on this page. It will be tough for the athletic directors, coaches and players to adjust to a compact schedule that will overlap seasons more than it ever has.

I suspect we will see a lot of the outstanding athletes opt out of their favored sports.

Other VHSL recommendations include no showers after ball games. I suspect many teams will dress on the bus or even in the parking lot at the local high schools.

Each team will also have to deal with hand and face covers. While the fall sports might be out of the woods a little because they won’t play until April, what about the winter sports that are inside? The biggest sport to face major changes and problems could be wrestling where there is direct contact by the competitors.

Basketball will also have to deal with the expense of extra steps such as purchasing more basketballs to change out every few minutes. The cost will affect all of the public schools. They are currently dealing with the increased costs associated with the public school system’s extra cleaning and social distancing. How are they going to find extra money to step up for athletics?

I just hope we will not see the elimination of individual sports and/or decreased funding because of COVID-19.

I know this is all bad for the younger studentathletes, and I hate that. Again, I am torn but lean toward precaution and safety.

I finish with this thought: Can we afford to take the risk of student-athletes being stricken by a virus that could take their life? They are just ball games in the midst of the chaos we call life.



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