Are you the kind of high school sports fan who really enjoys county games?
Good, because that might be all we get this fall. Counties all around the state are extending the postponement to start their sports season due to a surge in the novel coronavirus. It may not be over either.
What happens if the higher-populated counties of Craven and Onslow shut down shop a week into the season when a crop of positive cases pop up? The thought has already been considered, and it appears that county-only games, meets and matches would be the only solution.
On the college scene, the Southeastern Conference announced Thursday that its football teams would play a conference-specific schedule this fall, even if/when it pits the same two teams against each other twice in one season. This limits elongated travel time and isolates potential outbreaks. Makes sense to me.
But that’s 14 teams, much more than the three of each sport that play in this county. How many times can you watch East and West soccer play each other? How many Croatan-West-East cross country meets can a person stand? When two county teams play football on Friday, what does the third team out do? Every team takes a week off every three weeks? Is that really better than canceling the season outright?
Well, if you’re asking the student-athletes themselves, they all agree – anything is better than nothing. They would rather be on the field or on the court playing the sport they love than not at all. They would rather play the same two teams over and over, even if the results are redundant, than scrap the season altogether.
As a sports reporter, I tend to agree. Admittedly, my hope in a full fall sports season wanes every day. If I got a county-only season to cover instead, I’d be very happy. I mean no offense to the many talented and dedicated student-athletes across the state, but I just don’t care about them. I care about my players, the ones I see three or four times a week during a typical season.
Those guys and girls? They deserve some kind of season, even if it comes with a giant asterisk next to it for years to come.
(Send comments or ques-tions to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @zacknally)