The spring sports season was less than a week away, and then it was over before it even started.
“It is just something that we can’t control,” said head baseball coach Kenneth Day said. “I am disappointed for our seniors that had an opportunity to compete.”
Before it all came to a screeching halt — like the rest of the world living amid the coronavirus pandemic — coaches and players had already put in countless hours preparing in the offseason.
They made it through conditioning, tryouts and scrimmage games.
And in a flash, it’s gone.
“All of our players and coaches had really worked hard to prepare for the season,” Day said. “Not being able to practice and just being around the players and coaches and watching them grow and compete is what we will miss the most.”
The Virginia High School League announced Monday the 2020 spring sports season was canceled shortly after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered the closure of all schools in the commonwealth for the remainder of the school year due to the spread of COVID-19.
The VHSL Crisis Management team then met on Tuesday and unanimously voted to delay any action on extending the sports season until at least May.
Several issues have to be resolved in order for the season to take place in some capacity, and the chances of that happening are yet to be determined.
Comets jayvee head baseball coach Jody Nelson had some advice for his players and all student athletes.
“It is sad, but also necessary for all students,” Nelson said. “How do you use this time to enrich your own life? You have an abundance of time to perfect your craft. I encourage them to go walk outside and get around, learn more like skills from a parent or guardian,” Nelson added.
For the coaches, it’s clearly a heartbreaking and complicated era. Head boys soccer coach Mario Sadler compared the situation to being in uncharted waters.
“My heart breaks for the seniors that wont get to play their last season,” Sadler said.
One day things were going on as planned, and the next school is closed and there are no sports anywhere.
“So much hard work had been put in to this point, and now the kids will not be able to showcase that hard work,” Sadler said.
Also lost in the season collapse is recognition for seniors, often a special evening to highlight the departing students.
“It’s certainly heartbreaking,” Sadler said. “I was looking forward to the season and seeing my guys compete but we always have to put the safety of our kids first and this is the outcome of putting their safety and well being first. It’s tough but necessary.”
At Halifax County Middle School, spring sports were already in full swing. The boys and girls soccer teams were both undefeated and had their eyes on a Junior Piedmont District Championship, and baseball and softball were both well on their way to successful seasons as well.
“Right now I’m hurting for not only myself but for the players and the parents,” said head middle school boys soccer coach Kwame Lambert.
Eighth grade players are hurt the most.
“Some of the eighth-graders have played for me for two or three years and wanted to get a championship before they moved on to the high school next year,” he said.
It was a special season with a 4-0 start.
“We were looking to bring home the Junior Piedmont District Championship,” Lambert said. “The players put in a lot of work this offseason to get where we’ve gotten this season before the coronavirus hit.”
Head middle school baseball coach Zach Carter was looking forward to watching his team grow this year.
“It’s unfortunate our season has come to an end,” he said. “My heart goes out to the eighth graders who didn’t realize at the time of the postponements that they had played their last game in our uniform.”
Looking at the history books 50 years from now will show a mostly blank 2020 season. While all reasons may not be clear, coaches agree it was the right decision.
Reagan Cannon, the head coach for the Comets jayvee softball team, reflected on the situation at hand and how unprecedented it is.
“My heart goes out to all of the spring sport athletes, parents and coaches,” she said “I already miss all of my kids so much and was really looking forward to this season.”