Finally, something is starting to move.
Local prep athletes are starting to gather – together! – at their schools. Workouts are actually happening. Some team bonding is starting up again.
We say, from here, it’s about time.
Let me pause here for a disclaimer: I get it. I know why we haven’t been able to get together. This is a serious, dangerous thing we’ve been dealing with, and the best way we can deal with it is apart. Trust me, nobody understands this better than I do right this second.
Still, it’s nice to see some movement. I feel like the cop on a stakeout. We’ve been sitting here staring into the abyss for hours. Finally something has moved. It may be a trickle, but we’ve got something stirring.
And we’re thankful.
Among those teams getting together now are some basketball teams. Do you realize that some of them were never eliminated from last season? Normally, we’re comfortable with that number. It’s easy to remember. It’s simple.
As the brilliant Tony Kornheiser would say, that’s it; that’s the list.
But this year there are a few. When the high school basketball season ended for girls, 11 were still standing. For the boys, the number was 16. The state tournament still hadn’t started.
And now, here we are, getting ready for next year.
I’m excited about it. I’m happy they’re able to get together and do things. I’m certain they’re limited as to what they can do right now, but I’ve seen coach after coach take to social media to express the joy that comes from a simple gathering of players.
One of them was Adam Farmer. Imagine being named head coach for the first time in your life, and then being told you can’t be around your team. That’s been the case for the new girls’ coach at East Ridge, and dozens more like him. He was thrilled just to get his players together.
Any coach worth his salt will tell you, analytics aside, team bonding is critical. It’s crucial to your success. But since mid-March, these players largely haven’t seen each other. Forget about practice or weights or conditioning, they haven’t been in the same school building – or any other building in most cases.
I recently read a story or saw a picture or something about some students getting together in a parking lot, leaning on their own cars and just talking. Yes, they were social distancing – talk about a phrase I’ve come to loathe – but they just wanted to see each other.
But now, they can get together. They can talk. They can laugh. They can, to some extent, get back to work.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been against most organized summer school activities. I believe kids should be allowed to be kids, and a big part of that is summertime fun. Instead of a two-week dead period, where absolutely nothing can take place, I’ve long been a proponent of a two-week live period.
Do what you want for two weeks and then turn them loose. Let kids be kids.
But this summer is different. We finally got to the point where it’s probably okay for us to get together and the dead period was upon us. I watched part of a KHSAA meeting and happened upon it as they were discussing the dead period. They decided – correctly – that the three-month dead period was plenty.
This year, they let them get back at it. Surprisingly, I’m okay with that. Sometimes, I even surprise myself.
It’s not just scholastic sports that are resuming. The Pikeville Cal Ripken youth baseball league will begin play soon. If you don’t follow youth sports, you should know that we’re getting really close to the time when the season should be ending. There’s no “all-star” events this year, but that shouldn’t be what it’s all about anyway.
I’m sure other area leagues are doing the same thing, but the Pikeville league is the one which had a story in these pages about its resumption. It’s the one we’re certain about.
I say go for it. If you can play for a month, do it. Enjoy it. Make the most of it. These kids have been cooped up for too long as it is. Let them play. Will it be a fair season? Will the scheduling be equal? Will some team play the unbeaten team more often and another get the winless team more times? All those things will be off this year.
But it shouldn’t matter. What does is that kids can finally get back to doing what kids do. Kids play sports. Or at least, in my mind, they should if they’re able.
And this week, we finally got that started again.
Things started to move again. It’s another reason to thank God for life.