I wrote last week about the upcoming decision that the Halifax County School Board will make on Monday regarding winter sports and why I felt that they should vote to allow the Halifax student athlete’s to participate. I won’t go into too much of that today because I already gave my opinion, but I want to talk about other schools in the area that have already canceled winter sports.

The James River District has had four of their nine schools cancel winter sports. Buckingham, Central Lunenburg, Prince Edward and Bluestone have all canceled winter sports this week. Park View, also in Mecklenburg County falls in line with Bluestone in their cancelation. Mecklenburg also canceled fall sports, but it is rumored that decision could be revisited.

The Piedmont District where Halifax is a member, to my knowledge, has not had any schools in the district cancel their winter sports at this time. Some schools may have different ways of deciding how that decision is made, but right now all teams are still a go.

Arlington Public Schools in Northern Virginia announced that they were going to cancel winter sports, but the Superintendent backtracked that decision after backlash from students, parents and school board members who fought for their winter sports season to happen.

I know that most schools in the state are virtual, I know that it doesn’t make sense to some that there should be sports if the kids aren’t in school, but there is a big difference in numbers when it comes to in-person school and athletics.

Winter sports consist of girls’ and boys’ basketball, swimming and diving, wrestling and indoor track and field.

The move to cancel winter sports is wrong in my opinion because you aren’t asking 500 students or more to re-enter the schools, you are letting 15-20 students, coaches and staff play the sport they love. There are already so many guidelines and restrictions in place that are being followed to keep the students safe. I have a feature coming out in Monday’s paper about all that is being done at the high school to ensure that everyone participating in conditioning stays safe.

There are already restrictions on attendance in place so there will not be a packed gym like we are used to, but it is the safe thing to do. I could go on and on about how much time and effort has been put into these guidelines but I have already touched on it several times.

I cannot tell you the overwhelming response I have received from students, coaches and parents when I talk to them about the upcoming vote and how they are all in favor of playing. The passion and love that they all have for each other and their school is evident and they will follow whatever protocols are necessary to ensure they can have a season.

One coach in particular got pretty emotional when we were talking about one of the seniors they coached possibly not having their senior season and a chance to get a college offer. The theme from all of the seniors is that this is their last chance. This is their last chance to get looked at by colleges, their last chance to play with teammates they’ve played with since elementary school and their last chance to put on a Comet uniform and represent the school that they have spent years pouring the heart and soul into.

They understand the risks. I understand the risks. It isn’t an easy decision to make, but it also is a decision that will affect some kids for the rest of their life if they aren’t allowed to play.

Until next time.

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