We have been on quite the journey since the coronavirus came along and changed all of our lives this past March.
For student-athletes, the up-and-down roller coaster of emotions has been nearly unbearable to watch, but we are now finally about to get back to sports in the Bluegrass State.
First we saw the girls’ Sweet 16 tournament get cut short, and the boys’ tournament cancelled altogether. Then we waited to see if spring sports would be able to be contested in a shortened season, only to watch as baseball, softball, tennis and track-and-field athletes were denied the opportunity to take the field or court.
Then we navigated a long, difficult summer full of speculation and confusion regarding whether we would get to see fall sports take place. First came the allowance for team communications to resume, then the allowance for strength and conditioning activities as long as they were being conducted in small groups while remaining socially distant and wearing PPE.
Then we finally got word from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association that, yes, we WOULD be having fall athletics. Obviously, things would need to look very different than in 2019 or before, but games would be resuming starting the first full week in September.
Governor Andy Beshear had the option of overruling that decision a few days later during one of his daily coronavirus press briefings, and honestly, I personally expected him to at least push the start date back to the end of September so that it would coincide with his proposed start date for in-person classes. Somewhat surprisingly, he chose instead to work with the KHSAA on their plan to move forward as scheduled.
So, at this point all seemed well. Or, well enough at least. Sports were coming back, and student-athletes across the state were rejoicing in the fact that they would be able to suit up again in the near future.
Then we got another scare from the Kentucky Department of Education.
Word began circulating last week that the KDE was going to hold a special meeting concerning fall athletics, and it was rumored that they were going to demand that the Governor reverse course. A couple of days of worry and even more speculation was all for naught, however, as on Monday the KDE simply came forward publicly with a list of recommendations for how schools should move forward with sports in the coming days and weeks.
You can read more about the Department of Education’s recommendations in section B, but to me, it seems like most of what they are asking is already being done, or has already been discussed at length.
Nevertheless, here we are. Next week, assuming nothing catastrophic happens, we will once again be living in a world where high school sports are taking place in the state of Kentucky. Crowd restrictions may dictate that not everyone will get to attend games in person, but fingers are crossed in hopes of that only having to be the case for a little while.
If all goes well, we should see a loosening of restrictions on crowd sizes as the fall season progresses, but of course, we will just have to wait and see how that all plays out.
In the meantime, if you are able to attend a game, please comply with everything that school officials ask you to do. Do your part to make this process as easy as possible for the sake of the guys and girls trying to have a season.
If we work together, we can make this thing happen.
See you on the sidelines!