Large crowds welcome back Spring Fling

Published 11:13 pm Friday, May 28, 2021

As a Sports Editor, I would be telling what my mamaw would refer to as a fib if I said it wasn’t excited to see stands full of people for a sporting event after all of Spring sports were basically wiped out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That was exactly what I experienced this week at the 2021 TSSAA Spring Fling Track and Field for small and large schools which was held at Rockvale High School in Murfreesboro.
Stands were packed full, people stood two and three deep around the fence, and about anywhere one could get a good glimpse of the track, there were fans.

Not only that, each participating school had tents set up behind the stands filling up the field as athletes retreated out of the hot 93-degree sun on Tuesday to find a little bit of relief.

The concession stands had long lines and the T-shirt booth was selling out of items by early afternoon.

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Why is this important one might ask – because it is another true sign that high school sports life may be heading back to where it was before everything shut down.

More importantly for the businesses of the surrounding Murfreesboro area, the opening and closing of cash registers meant that maybe they could get back to some normalcy as well.

It was interesting to walk into the Steak and Shake in Murfreesboro and while eating the owner walked up seeing my Elizabethton Star shirt and said, “Elizabethton, hey I am from there.”

Dave Weill said that he still had family in Watauga and we begin chatting as he shared that he was a 1988 graduate of Elizabethton.

We talked about how the popular eatery had only gotten to open back for inside dining a month ago.

Gone were greeters, bar stools, and waiters as customers now ordered their food through a kiosk and picked it up at the counter when done.

Weill admitted it was different but that he was just glad to be opened back up to the public.

At every stop, there were softball and baseball players and fans eating and shopping.

Daily local papers were filled with the previous day’s activities and a multitude of writers and photographers like myself were on hand to cover their area’s school athletes.

And the athletes were just as pumped at being back at state competition as one high jumper would get the crowd clapping before he took off for his attempts at crossing the bar.

The fans were not quiet either as in every event they were very vocal in support of the athletes participating.

It was an energetic atmosphere and as people were leaving there were smiles everywhere whether they were walking out with a medal around their neck or not.

Normalcy was once again reigning.

I cannot close out this Sports Chatter without once again offering a huge congratulations to Carter County athletes who gave it their all in representing their respective schools.

Happy Valley’s Cameron Cochran and Marcida Moore both earned All-State honors with Cochran finishing seventh in the discus and Moore eighth in the 100 Meter Hurdles.

Elizabethton’s Conner Johnson finished fourth in the shot put and in the process broke the school record that had stood for 32 years with a toss of 53-4.50.

And while Lady Cyclone freshman Kaiya Simmons didn’t place, the young runner got a valuable taste of state competition and one can count on her to return again to the large stage.

This Sports Editor for one is ready to get back at it when the 2021-2022 school year kicks back off with fans filling the stands, face coverings and thermometers nowhere in sight, and no more announcements of social distancing.

Now for a brief hibernation – football will be here before you blink.