When the lights go dim…

Published 11:41 pm Thursday, March 19, 2020

As I sit allowing my mind to develop the words that I want to put into this article, I admittedly have to say for the first time that those words are struggling to find their way to my fingertips to type.
The main reason being that for the first time that I can ever remember, the world of sports whether it’s from the youth leagues of the county to the professional sports globally, has come to a screeching halt due to the pandemic known as Covid 19.
And while all seems hopeless, in my heart I realize that this as many other events in history have happened too shall soon pass and we must stay united as one people and one country – America.
But as governments from the local to the federal are making drastic moves to protect us, some things have to change and in change, there is a sacrifice that often brings disappointment and even tears especially when thinking along the line of athletics for high school and college seniors.
I will not lie – my heart breaks as if these kids were my own as in my role of being a Sports Editor that I have gotten close to many athletes in Carter County and to think of all the hard work that they have invested in even to the point of playing travel sports to hone their talents only to be sitting at home while the lights sit dim on softball and baseball fields, soccer complexes, and track facilities throughout not only the county but the entire state.
And with the recent announcements by collegiate conferences of the decision to shut down the rest of the spring sports season along with their corresponding championships in each sport, it may be the fall season before we see any type of prep or collegiate sports, if then.
There is still hope that things could change for local prep teams as the TSSAA has placed a stay on completely canceling the basketball championships which the Hampton Bulldogs have qualified in boys’ play, but again as Governor Bill Lee and President Trump keep saying each day it is an ever-changing protocol fromĀ one day to the next.
Entering the early part of the spring seasons, there were bright hopes and strong starts being displayed by area prep teams in both softball and baseball while track and soccer hadn’t much of a chance to get a good footing on the new season.
Unaka and Elizabethton softball was picking up steam as both teams showed evidence that 2020 could be a good season. The Elizabethton Cyclone baseball team, although not sporting the most glamorous of records, were according to head coach Ryan Presnell heading in the right direction toward a strong season.
Over on Scotty Bunton Field, the diamond Bulldogs sport a 3-0 record after their first three games and head coach Nicholas Perkins had his team doing all the right things.
And while other teams were not off to their best of starts, the season still had high hopes.
Now, with school starting back around April 6th for most schools, if spring sports were to resume there would be between 10 to 15 games left on most teams schedule unless they tried to load makeup games for every day of the week which may or may not be beneficial when tournament time rolled around.
I am sure most coaches are sitting around in their quite time asking themselves questions such as this.
But the bottom line still is the athletes who may have been looking to take the field for their last prep season with high hopes of leaving their legacy on the schools that they attend.
They may still get that chance but time will tell and the passing of this pandemic- no man knows how long that may take.
And while for sports guys like me who make their living tell the accolades of these young players, we still are working to find a mix of local sports stories whether on the outdoors or other interesting tidbits.
Those that like National Sports will sure to be getting a good dose of sports whether on the football draft or free-agency and any other stories of interest involving the world of sports through the AP wire until we can once again bring you the best coverage of local sports available.
I wanted to leave something positive and while just typing, a story came to mind that I have shared on a few occasions that I would like to leave you, my readers, with.
When working in another field, I was sent to Phoenix along with a co-worker for a couple weeks of training. We both were anxious to get back home after having to sit through two weeks of this training even though we did get to watch the Cardinals and Eagles play an NFL game and made a quick run to the Grand Canyon.
We boarded the plane at Sky Harbour International Airport on our voyage back home and the day was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon when we took off from Arizona.
It was in early December and as we were making our approach to our changeover in Pittsburgh and were making our descent we soon were enveloped in heavy clouds and couldn’t see anything.
When we finally put wheels down, we disembarked the plane and the temperatures were blustery and this is no lie, the clouds were almost the height of a 14-foot ladder off the ground.
My friend and I wondered if we were going to be stuck in Pittsburgh overnight because of the ceiling of the clouds and were surprised when they called our plane for boarding.
As we were settling, it was dark on the plane due to the blackness of the day outside due to the thick, rolling clouds. The stewardess flipped on the cabin lights to make it easier for us to find our seats and stow our carry-ons.
As we taxied down the runway, I couldn’t help but look outside and see that the clouds almost looked to be sitting on the wings of the plane and as the pilot lifted off and we began to climb it became very bumpy as it almost seemed like every cloud was a punch being thrown at the plane.
It seemed like it was taking forever to get the cruising elevation but all of a sudden after one final punch, the cabin became flooded with an overwhelming beam of light.
When I looked outside, I saw the most beautiful sun looking like it was just sitting on a bed of cotton balls. It is something that I haven’t forgotten in over 20 years.
The point of my story is simply this – even when it seems like we are fighting through the darkest of times in life and everywhere we turn it seems like punch after punch comes our way, we must always remember that just beyond the next punch of darkness that the sun is still shining even though we may not be seeing it at the time.
And if I can simply put this in terms of my faith, things in life may be looking dark and bleak, but I am forever reminded that the Son (Jesus Christ) is still there shining through it all and I can’t help to think that beyond the next cloud bank we are going to see his glory revealed through all that is happening.
To all my prep senior players and coaches as well – keep your chins up. This may sting for the moment, but you don’t know what’s around the next corner. Brighter days are coming.
In the words of my friend Josh Wandell – Faith > Fear.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox