That was the last instance in which I spoke directly to you all, responding to one of the toughest challenges of my early career: the absence of live sports.
Nearly three months later, not much has changed, unfortunately.
High school and college seniors who play spring sports saw the rest of their seasons canceled because of the novel coronavirus pandemic that’s infected millions in this country while claiming well over 110,000 lives. In North Carolina, the recent metrics show an overall uptick in cases, hospitalizations and infection rates as restrictions loosen.
Back in March, the only certainty was uncertainty when it came to forecasting a return to organized activities. Now, the good news is, a return is inevitable, at least according to the N.C. High School Athletic Association who recently set June 15 as the day teams are allowed to meet again with local school districts having the final say.
That decision also detailed stringent safety regulations that follow recommendations from both federal and state health professionals. Most districts, such as local counties Harnett, Johnston and Sampson, felt they weren’t fully prepared yet to follow the detailed instructions and therefore pushed their respective start dates back to at least July 6.
“There were a series of requirements and regulations...quite frankly, we didn’t think we could get into place in that short of time,” Harnett County Deputy Superintendent Brooks Matthews said during a work session on Monday. “We may or may not push the date back depending on how things go the next week or two.”
Inevitable, yet still uncertain.
That’s the frustrating conundrum North Carolinians and Americans alike are debilitated by when it comes to sports as well as resuming other aspects of our pre-COVID-19 lives.
But in times like these, it would best serve us to echo the words of critically acclaimed author Wayne Dyer, “You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”
Whether you’re an athlete, coach, or fan, now is the time to fortify our minds and hearts. Become a better student of the game. Replenish your love for a particular sport, that might have taken a hit during this abnormal moment in history.
If we use this time to keep controlling what goes on inside, we’ll be more equipped to handle the uncertainty of what’s happening outside, paving the way for a greater appreciation of when live sports comes back to our local communities.
Donnell Coley can be reached at (910) 230-2040 or firstname.lastname@example.org