Since the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s decision to cancel winter sporting events on March 10, a lot has happened. Professional sports leagues are shut down, and Gov. Ned Lamont announced this past Tuesday he believes public schools could be closed until the fall semester.
With this news, it seems we are inching closer and closer to the painful realization that will not have spring sports as well. The CIAC announced last week they are not ready to cancel spring just yet, but I think it is safe to say we would all be shocked if high school athletes get a chance to walk between those lines in the next few months.
However, there is one thing I know we have not begun to talk about yet, and it was something that was brought up by John Cessario, head coach of Southington boys basketball, the last Southington coach I talked to that was impacted by the winter cancellations. Cessario said that we could see an effect on sports that goes far beyond the spring.
There will be a day when this is all over. There will be a day when we all return to work, school, and sports. But is it safe to say that things will simply go back to the way they were? I do not think this is the case.
We are already seeing a lasting impact on the professional sports level. Just this week, we heard the news of the summer Olympic games in Japan being postponed to 2021.
Will the National Basketball Association continue their 2019-20 season? If so, how will it impact its 2020-21 season? For the National Hockey League, the same questions would be asked. How many games will Major League Baseball teams play?
Will we be asking these same questions as the high school level? It is not far-fetched to think that fall and even winter CIAC sports could see a long-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
What about spring weightlifting programs and passing leagues for football players? What about offseason leagues for volleyball, soccer, field hockey, and basketball players? When will swimmers be able to return to the pool to prepare for their upcoming seasons?
The worst part of this is that high school is not the National Collegiate Athletic Association, so athletes will not be granted an extra year of eligibility. It is difficult to even imagine the scholarships or the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that will be missed out on.
So, I hope all you folks are doing what you can to put a stop to this pandemic. If you are staying home as much as possible and washing your hands, that is great. But just remember, it will be a long, long time before we stop feeling the effects of the events that have unfolded in the past few months.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at Sports@SouthingtonObserver.com.