Door stays open for the possible return of spring sports in May

On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order extending the closure of public K-12 schools until at least May 16. In response, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association further suspended athletics until at least May 18, but leaving the door open for the possible return of the spring season.

“The NCHSAA Board of Directors and staff will use the next few weeks to weigh our future decisions based on the new directions given by Governor Cooper, other government leaders and organizations charged with public health and safety,” said NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker in the statement. “Such decisions will include the possible resumption of spring sports’ competition and the possibility of holding the state basketball championships.”

As schools have transitioned to online learning and athletes are working out on their own, people around the globe are urged to make lifestyle adjustments - such as social distancing and teleworking - to help slow the spread of the respiratory illness transmitted through close contact with an infected person.

For everyone, day-to-day life just isn’t the same.

“It’s different,” said Lejeune High School baseball coach George Markle. “It’s tough just waking up and opening up a computer screen as opposed to being at work 11 or 12 hours between work and going outside with the athletes.”

It is clear that how bad the pandemic gets is dependent upon the actions of everyone. Given how contagious the virus is, how symptoms aren’t always evident and how the number of lives lost continues to grow, collective precaution is crucial.

“This is much bigger than sports,” said Southwest Onslow High School’s athletic director Eric Kliewer. “This has impacted everybody. No one is off limits. We all have to pitch in together to make sure that those that are at risk can survive this.”

Though the times are dire for now, athletes and coaches across the nation are hoping to close out the year together, somehow, as a team.

“It’s tough,” Markle said. “I miss the athletes, being out there on the field and putting the work in. I told the athletes, if nothing else, we started everything together and hopefully we can finish everything together, one way or the other.”