The spread of the Coronavirus (corvid-19) pandemic has influenced the sports world like the US involvement in WWII. The US professional teams began suspending games and postponing opening day on Wednesday night, March 11, 2020. The NBA was first to suspend its season followed by the NHL on Thursday, March 12. MLS joined the other two leagues later in the day on Thursday. The NCAA allowed conference play to continue on March 12; then came down with a few changes in an effort to stave off the spread of the virus or limit personal contact by allowing only the team and their immediate family members to be in the arenas. They later canceled all conference tournaments, March Madness, and all winter and spring championships. The MLB suspended operation for four weeks on Friday, March 13, so opening day is tentatively set for April 9, 2020. Friday the 13th was a day without sports. Other countries around the world began to cancel games and seasons, so this (corvid-19) has affected the world.
On a smaller level the VHSL executive director John W. ‘Billy’ Haun said the league had monitored the Virginia Department of Health and had a webinar with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention throughout the week and as of Wednesday had planned to play all games. That changed quickly throughout Thursday as the league followed the lead of the college and pro leagues. The VHSL first decided to play Friday’s and Saturday’s games without spectators. By afternoon, as the John Marshall game was going on in front of a boisterous crowd of around 3,000, the league announced that it had canceled Thursday night’s Class 1 boys and girls games at the Siegel Center following a state-of-emergency declaration by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. On Sunday, Northam banned all gatherings of 100 people or more in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Virginia.
Some reactions from local students, Sydney Williams a 7th grader at Montross Middle school replied, “If I had a game to play, I would want to play. I know the coronavirus had killed some people, but people die from the flu every year. I don’t think [corvid-19] as serious as [the government and large media outlets] make it seem.”
Natasia Fauntleroy a Senior at Rappahannock High School stated, “I think [corvid-19] is really serious and it’s on all social media platforms. People are making jokes about it, but they know it’s real. It’s nice to have a crowd, yet for safety reasons we can play without one. Given the choice I would choose to play even with the threat; we could cut out the handshakes to stop some player contact.”
Avante’ Banks a Senior at Essex High School thinks, “[Corvid-19] is real but I don’t know the origin whether it was man-made or a result of a group of people’s unusual eating habits. I would be hurt if the season was canceled, but I’m going on to play college baseball. As for the other seniors that won’t be moving on to the next level, this will be their last year to play organized ball. I still want to play and anyone that loves a sport would want to play the games; you can’t stop life because of the pandemic. Cutting back on the number of fans may prevent the spread because they sit so close to each other.”
Tyler Holden a Senior at W&L High School said, “I don’t know anyone that has contracted the virus, but I believe what I’ve heard and read about it. This is my last season because I’m a senior and if we don’t play, I won’t be able to play again. I’d be fine playing in front of a limited number of fans or no fans. If [corvid-19] is not affecting younger people we should be allowed to play, and instead of shaking hands a fist bump would suffice in a show of sportsmanship.”
It would be a long spring without the spring 2020 sports season. Flu related deaths in 2019 were 2100 and between 300,000 and 500,000 worldwide.