“The Press Box” for January 27, 2021
Fans across the country are starving for sports to get back to normal. While the Super Bowl is the next big event on the market, it’s still not the same. Pro football like every other sporting event is gaged by the amount of people they can draw. Televised games give the audience some relief, but nothing compares to the in-person experience that thrills the die-hard fans and draws large crowds to the stadiums across the land.
The excitement of enjoying sports with other people is one of the thrills of life. Anytime people can get together in large crowds and enjoy themselves in a safe and fun atmosphere it creates memories that last a lifetime. With the virus shutting nearly every in-person event down, we find ourselves on the edge of deep dark sports depression. It may soon become an untreatable problem. Watching from the boob tube, mostly alone or with a couple family members can spark nerve-racking tensions which can’t be treated. Even a few cold drinks and a large pizza can’t take away the thoughts of long forgotten tailgate parties, and the crowded stadiums filled with blooming idiots who push and shove their way to the front of the entrance line.
I can’t for the life of me understand what makes that so much better. How can waiting 15 minutes to get in the restroom be better than just going into the bathroom at home? How can bundling up on a freezing cold or rainy day and spending a fortune on concessions be better than setting in a soft recliner with fresh made food, and cold drinks? The answer is easy, it’s all about sharing, sharing the experience with others, your friends, loved ones, family and co-workers. Meeting up with old acquaintances and sharing stories from the past. It’s the ride to and from the events, the opportunity to get away and be a part of something special.
Listening to high school games on the radio is Ok, but going through the gym doors or the gates at the football field is just so nuch better. And did anyone ever notice that concession stand food is always the best? Where else can you get a quality hot dog and fries for a few dollars and know it’s going to be the best you ever had?
Last week the WVSSAC made the announcement that high school winter and spring sports would soon be starting back up. I was excited, excited for the coaches and kids, parents and fans. I’m not sure and I don’t think anyone else is whether it will work out, but it’s worth a try. My excitement level dropped a little when I read that seating and admission would be very limited. But, hey if the kids get to play we can live with it.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice along with the WVSSAC announced last week that Mountain State high school winter sports will be allowed to open practice on Feb. 15, with games slated to begin on March 3.
Players must still have the mandatory 14 practices completed before playing in a game, and the state COVID map infamous for its role in the 2020 West Virginia high school football season will again be in play for winter sports.
The Governor had previously announced the start up of sports in January before a second change brought on by COVID moved everything to March.
None of the venues for state championship events have changed as a result of the revised schedule, but everything is being pushed back much later in the calendar that most years.
The state high school cheerleading competition, originally scheduled for last December before being indefinitely postponed, is tentatively scheduled for March 20.
West Virginia University will host the state swim meet in Morgantown on April 20 and 21, followed by the state wrestling tournament in Huntington — split with Class AA-A on April 21 and 22 and Class AAA on April 23 and 24.
A few days later the state basketball tournaments return to the Charleston Coliseum with the girls side scheduled for April 27 through May 1 and the boys from May 4 through May 8.
Spring sports will be allowed to start practicing on March 15 with competitions allowed starting on April 12.
The Charleston area will be quite busy with spring sports state championship events this year with tennis, track and baseball all in their usual venues around the state’s capital city and softball’s state tournament coming to the Kanawha Valley after many years in Vienna. Tennis goes first with its state tournament scheduled for June 3 through 5. Each classification will get its own full day at University of Charleston Stadium for the state track and field meet Class A on June 10, Class AA on June 11 and Class AAA on June 12.
Softball goes next with its state tournament debut at South Charleston’s Little Creek Park on June 22 and 23, followed by the baseball state tournament at Appalachian Power Park from June 24 through June 26.
So there you have it, unless it changes again, and I believe there is a good change it will, we are set to go. Unless I get both vaccination doses I will not be attending any games. I hope to get completely vaccinated soon. I will then be setting in the gyms and on the sidelines as the kids move forward with their sports seasons. Whatever may be, I wish them all the best and hope the virus dies off and we go back to the days of old.