IN THIS CORNER

Although the cancellation of the high school spring sports season was inevitable, it didn’t make it any easier to accept.

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper announced Friday that public schools in the state would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year as part of an effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

That announcement also effectively ended the N.C. High School Athletic Association spring sports season.

I think of these seniors who have now dealt with Hurricane Florence during the fall of their junior season and coronavirus in the spring of their senior season.

If these high school years didn’t prepare them for the ups and downs of life, nothing ever will.

I think of those seniors who also had other obstacles to overcome in their lives, like childhood diseases, illnesses to parents and the loss of loved ones.

I hope their future paths are much smoother.

I think of the seniors who were aiming to put up a banner up in the gym and have a ring on their finger. The Croatan girls soccer team and East Carteret baseball team were legit state championship contenders. Those seasons don’t come around too often.

I think of those senior track and field athletes who had marked this year as the year they finally nabbed that gold medal at the state meet.

I think of those seniors whose junior seasons ended in playoff disappointment and were looking for redemption this spring.

I think of those seniors who missed their junior seasons due to injury.

I think of those seniors who put in the offseason work to finally get a starting spot.

I think of those seniors who dedicated themselves to finally reach their potential this season.

I think of the seniors whose recruiting was hampered by this cancellation and may not have received the same scholarship opportunities because of it.

 I think of those seniors who couldn’t wait to be a team captain and show the kind of leadership they had previously been shown.

I think of the families of these seniors who got up early on Saturday mornings to drive to tournaments, drove hours away on Friday nights for away games, who helped with fundraisers, booster clubs and served as concession stand volunteers.

I think of the seniors who will never again see their name or photo in the newspaper.

I think of those seniors who will never put on a uniform again.

It’s just difficult to not think of these seniors.

(Send comments or questions to jj@thenewstimes.com or follow him on Twitter @jjsmithccnt.)

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