For the past two weeks, readers may have noticed that we’ve been running our area schools’ spring sports previews in the normal daily sports section. Usually, the previews are all in one really big section by themselves.
I’m sure some might have found running them daily was odd, because although there was a small window of hope a few weeks ago that the spring sports season would pick back up at some point, I think I’m safe in saying that the popular belief is that everything was getting canceled anyway, and Governor Ricketts and the Nebraska School Activities Association just hadn’t officially said it yet.
So, why run previews that discuss potential state-bound track, soccer, tennis and golf student-athletes that ultimately won’t even get the chance to compete their senior years following Gov. Ricketts’ announcement Wednesday night that extracurricular activities have been canceled statewide through May 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic?
Because we at the York News-Times thought it was the right thing to do for the kids.
Some student-athletes wait all school year for the spring. They might compete or not compete in the fall or winter season sports, but some really excel in the spring stuff. It’s more their thing. So we wanted to still give those kids some love, too. And I’m glad we did it and got through all of the schools.
And yes, of course it was a two-birds-with-one-stone thing. We had local content to use with the previews, which filled the sports page while there weren’t any live sports to cover.
So what’s next?
We’re going to have to get creative, but to be honest there are still plenty of sports-angled stories to do. I’d love to chat on the phone with our area coaches and student-athletes to get an idea of what it’s like to be in their shoes during this unprecedented time.
We have one student-athlete in our area, High Plains’ senior Dylan Soule from Polk. Get this – he won a gold medal in football with Osceola/High Plains this past fall. Then he won a silver in wrestling. And trust me, the kid is such a dynamic athlete, he was probably going to mess around and place really high in the discus at the state track meet (he placed third last year).
Actually, as I write this, I remembered that High Plains has two kids that could’ve gone 3 for 3 at the plate their senior years.
High Plains’ senior Jarrett Parsons is in the same boat as Soule, since he was on the football team – and was the guy that stripped the Burwell running back on fourth down to help seal the state championship – and surprised some when he took third at state wrestling. But now, Soule and Parsons won’t even get the opportunity to win a medal at state track to complete their trifecta.
I know I’m missing many more from York, but what about kids like York’s Brynn Hirschfeld, Morgan Conner, Reed Malleck and Dalton Stodieck? All of them were likely going to do great things this spring in their respective sports. Hirschfeld and Conner in track, Malleck on the golf course and Stodieck on the soccer pitch.
So although there won’t be any live sports to cover for a while, there are still stories out there. Stories we just have to go out and get.