By Christy Jankowski
The pandemic of Covid-19 brought many cancellations or delays, including professional sports. All sports affiliated with the IHSA/IESA cancelled their seasons not long after schools began to switch to remote learning. It is important to note, school never closed; it merely changed, as did sports.
Major League Baseball postponed the start of their 60 game amended season, with opening day July 23rd.
MLB Players are regularly tested for Covid-19, no fans are allowed, but games are live streamed through various networks. There are multiple protocols in place. Some stadiums have even put up cutouts of fans, with the addition of crowd noise. However, with less noise than usual comes one lovely sound—a bat cracking clear as day when a batter hits the ball, which was a delight to hear over the radio Friday evening as the Cubs beat the Brewers, 3-0
However, high school sports in Illinois remain in limbo until the IHSA makes a formal decision regarding fall sports for the 2020-21 school year. The sound of a bat cracking for little leagues throughout the country, did not occur this year with the exception of special traveling leagues.
That is not to say athletes have spent their quarantine and remote learning time without physical activity. Many students continued drills, training, used zoom, and more. It all just became different. Instead of meeting with their fellow athletes in person, they trained at home.
The association presented a Return to Play Plan on July 3 allowing sports to return with certain guidelines with certain phases on July 5. And with that announcement, many coaches let out sighs of relief that they could get back to doing what they do best – coach.
But, that was short lived when the IHSA reversed their decision on July 14 announcing on their website, “The IHSA and Illinois Department of Public Health are in the process of reviewing the Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines to include a greater emphasis on masks and the elimination of scrimmages in sports with contact. The current Guidelines are posted below and the updates will be posted as soon as IDPH approves them”
Todd Henricks, board member, and past CGB Football coach stated during the board’s regular meeting in July, “If they are not going to have activities this fall, they need to let the kids off, and the coaches for that matter and tell them to not come to workouts. It’s ridiculous with the limitations they put on them to what they can do, and what they cannot do in summer condition workouts if they are not going to play their games. They are wasting everyone’s time”
For Cerro Gordo Bement, the athletic director, Brandon Willard, is hopeful. “As the CG AD and a coach in the district I am very hopeful that the student athletes will be able to resume some sort of normalcy this year, and more specifically I hope they can return to athletics. I know that many of our programs with CGB were looking forward to, potentially, great seasons. However, with that said, we are prepared to follow and listen to the guidance the the IHSA provides us and safety is our number one priority. I think the problem right now is that we just aren’t getting much guidance as to how to prepare. As it stands, each program is preparing the best they can under phase 4 guidelines.”
He went on to add, “As it stands we are not sure how the school will handle spectators. We are going to wait til we receive more guidance from IDPH.”
The IHSA was set to meet Friday, July 24, 2020 but as of tonight have yet to make a decision on what direction, if any, fall sports will go. Friday the IESA announced the cancellation of almost all fall sports, with decision on girls basketball and others still to be announced.