It seems like every week is the week that is make or break when it comes to high school sports, but then something else happens and we are left guessing again.

The text message “have you heard anything?” is regularly sent and received on my phone. Only to get or send a response of “nothing yet.” We are now less than two weeks until the start of the VHSL’s winter sports season and there are still no answers.

Governor Northam is getting ready to expand restrictions again and we need them. We need them, but let’s be honest here, it doesn’t matter what he says or does, the general public isn’t going to listen. They haven’t listened from the start. This isn’t about being sheep, this isn’t unconstitutional, this isn’t controlling someone, it is about the health and safety of you, your loved ones and those around you.

No one is asking you to do anything other than wear a mask, stay six feet apart, and don’t congregate in large crowds. It is that simple. But there are so many people out there that refuse to do this. Somehow masks have become a political statement and it is infuriating. How is keeping yourself and those around you safe a political statement? It doesn’t make sense, but the entire year hasn’t made sense so why start now right?

People are dying in record numbers, cases are rising in record numbers, and there is a small section of society that still thinks this is being overblown and that it isn’t that bad. Well, thanks to those people someone’s loved one is not with them anymore, kids are struggling to learn through virtual learning, teachers are stressed to the max, frontline workers have been overwhelmed, athletes are losing their sports seasons. It is selfish and ignorant to walk around and refuse to wear a mask because you aren’t a “sheep” as so many like to say.

On a sports note, I text daily with coaches and student-athletes and to see the emotions running through them as they await the decision is heartbreaking. They have done everything right. They have stayed apart when they were told to, they have worked out in basements individually or outside, they returned to conditioning with every precaution possible in place. Masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, wipes, social distancing, they did it all so they could have the opportunity to play the sport they love.

They lost the camaraderie over the summer, the camps, the team bonding trips, the team workouts, all of that was ripped from them and now their season hangs by a thread. We have had nine months to figure this out, nine months to do the right thing, nine months to follow simple rules to allow us to get back to normal, and here we sit weeks before Christmas and things are worse than they were nine months ago. It truly is sad.

Think about those kids, think about their futures that are being affected by this, think about the people that lost their lives to this virus, think about the financial ruins that have come because of this, think about all of that the next time you complain about wearing a mask. This isn’t about how I feel or how you feel, we are all in this together, and until we as a country realize that, things are only going to get worse.

I just hope that these coaches and student-athletes get a chance to play. They have implemented so many precautions and guidelines and have worked so hard to have this opportunity. I would hate for that to be thrown away because of the decisions of a small group that don’t want to follow simple rules.

Johnathan Kirland is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jkirkland@gazettevirginian.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnathanK_GV