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Pondering ahead to winter sports…

It might not be a good thing to do especially the way that 2020 has been to this point sports-wise, but as a Sports Editor, I often find myself planning ahead on to how to cover the county athletes in each sports season as well as planning for the upcoming prep basketball tab that will feature all county teams with a preview of the upcoming season.

Right now, I am thankful that we have been able to get to the second season for prep football in the playoffs – a place that honestly I didn’t foresee happening going into the first week of the season.

But my mind has been wandering to basketball and the what-ifs of that season for our local basketball teams.

Questions like will the current rise in COVID force middle school basketball to be sidelined while high school basketball will be allowed to cautiously move forward due to the sport being an indoor one compared to football which is outdoor allowing for open-air ventilation.

Recently, neighboring Johnson City set guidelines for basketball allowing only 600 fans into Science Hill games with a commissioner stating that everyone says that the kids need to play and their safety is of the utmost importance and if that be the case then this number was set to do just that – keep the players and coaches safe.

No official word has been released by local athletic directors to the exact amount of fans to be allowed into gyms at Elizabethton, Happy Valley, Hampton, Unaka, and Cloudland although they have been working diligently to come up with guidelines for the upcoming basketball season.

Also, local youth leagues have snuffed out their seasons as once again neighboring Johnson City recently announced that they have shelved the youth and adult basketball leagues for the year.

Reports are that nearly 100 Carter County youths had signed up to play in Johnson City and that nearly 400 total had signed up for the league. That means youth in Carter County who love the game will not be seeing action this season.

And the scheduling and wonders of basketball not only extend to local prep teams but throughout basketball in general specifically collegiately.

I believe that the one word that has been overlooked this season is the word patience.

It’s tough as a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, or friend to think that in a player’s senior season that admission to games will be at a minimum but in a time such as we are in we need to be patient and recognize that what the local schools are dealing with is something they have never had to deal with.

Everyone cannot be pleased and frustrations can escalate but everyone needs to remember that athletic directors and their assistants plus the school administration is only doing what has been handed to them.

So, yes – it will take patience in all aspects as we as a society have to deal with COVID not only now but moving forward into the upcoming days, weeks, months, and possibly years ahead in daily life and in the world of sports.

And one thing to always remember – young people feed off of what they see from the adults that surround them and we should be cautious in how we speak and act when we are around these tender minds.

I, for one, am keeping my fingers crossed for these young people to get an opportunity to have their winter sports season.