Shattered hearts and broken dreams

Published 4:07 pm Thursday, April 16, 2020

Wednesday afternoon around 4 pm there was a sound heard throughout Carter County and the rest of the state of Tennessee that carried the sound of a large pane of glass that was finally freed from a precarious hanging position shattering as it hit against a concrete pad.
That sound was the last hope of high school spring sports athletes, in particular seniors, who were grasping for one last opportunity to return to their respective field of play to finish out the season.
But as Governor Bill Lee made his recommendation that students will not return back to the classrooms on campus to finish out the 2020 spring semester that was halted on March 16th for most students in Carter County due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the final last nudge that brought all hopes crashing down.
It was devastating news to the athletes, coaches, administrators, parents, grandparents, and even sportswriters who have followed most of the athletes from the time they were in middle school only to come up just shy of the finish line in their senior campaign.
For many senior athletes, their last opportunity to finish their prep careers with teammates who they have gone into battle with in good times and bad would not be able to be finalized as many now will only have memories of what could have been in their final season.
While many coaches felt in the pit of their stomachs that the odds of getting back on the field were looking bleak, they continued to encourage their athletes to be prepared and ready to go back to work when the season resumed.
Now those same coaches are trying to cope with the fact that the season has come to an end and the hopes they had for their teams and the longs hours of work preparing for the new season will now go by the wayside like a tree limb in a flooded stream.
And while times such as we are currently experiencing will leave a lifetime of lessons, when you are a teenager its hard to always see and understand why things happen the way they do.
It’s almost like trying to comprehend losing a young family member to death when older members are left behind to wrap their heads around it. There are things that will never make sense but as Elizabethton Cyclone head coach Ryan Presnell recently stated, “God has a plan.”
While those plans may not be immediately visible now for these athletes, a day will come that a light bulb will start flickering in their mind and all of a sudden they will be enlightened to the lessons they have learned in the year 2020.
It happens to all of us at some point.
Still, no words can accurately be articulated to these young people and their families as well as their coaches as to how heartbroken the community is for these athletes, especially the seniors, to know they won’t get to see them participate for one last time in their high school career.
There have been times of seeing these kids pull out amazing wins and pushing themselves to levels even they didn’t realize they could.
From my view as Sports Editor, I just want to extend a personal thank you to all these athletes who participate in spring sports. You have left some great highlights for me from the softball field to the baseball field and from the track to the soccer field with a quick stop by the tennis courts as well.
That is one of the reasons that right now Star Sports is honoring all senior athletes in our sports section asking for parents and coaches to send us photos with information so we can publish those. Simply email me the information at
Finally, in closing out this Sports Chatter I would like to use four simple words that came from the closing of shows done by a famous entertainer in my days as a growing boy.
These words came from Bob Hope and he would sing them at the end of his shows. The words – Thanks For the Memories.
To all spring sports seniors – thank you for each memory you left for this sportswriter and best wishes in all your future endeavors.

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