The season sports stood silent after 52 years of reporting

Fifty-two years, that’s a long time ago. The year 1969 was a long time ago. Think about…

Richard Nixon was inaugurated as out 37th president. Neil Armstrong was the first to step on the moon. The $500, $1000, $5,000 ad $10,000 dollar bills were officially removed from circulation.

Ok, that last one didn’t really affect many people, but looking at those events of 1969 gives you a bit of an idea just how long ago that was. Quite a few of our people today weren’t even born. Well, I guess anyone 52 or older can claim that span of life.

It was 52 years ago that I first penned a sports story for the Times Leader. It was 52 years ago that then-sports editor Cal Pokas gave me the opportunity to find out if I could write as good as I thought I could. That, of course, wouldn’t come for many years.

During those 52 years, and keep in mind that I was very young when I started, I have had the opportunity and very, very often the pleasure of watching, covering and writing about prep sports. I’ve actually covered grandfathers of kids that I’ve covered in recent years.

This all truly makes me sound old, but don’t kid yourself…I’m not!

Today, I’m not trying to convince anyone that I have been around for a long time or that the thousands of sporting events that have covered in so many different sports and levels makes me the best or even good at it. Today, I’m talking about 52 years.

Over those 52 years, I’ve covered games in heavy rain, in snow, after floods and scary world events. I’ve passed on covering games as a result of deaths in my family. I’ve seen games that I was scheduled to report on that were canceled by floods, hurricanes, school strikes, road closings, blizzards, a heart attack. I’ve even been covering games that were stopped because of power outages, multiple lightning strikes. And time curfews.

Yes, I may have covered 1000s upon 1000s of sporting events, but I’ve missed out on covering 100s of others for one reason or another.

THIS YEAR, for the first time, I was going to see my grandson play high school baseball. He is a freshman and it was his first year. As history will later remind us, my grandson did not get to play baseball his freshman year. As a matter of fact, freshmen, sophomores, juniors seniors and in some areas junior high athletes in all spring sports were going to miss out on the opportunity to participate.

I’m sure there are those out there that will say that those underclassmen will be given more chances in the coming years and that the seniors already played for three years. I sure hope those people are few and far between.

Fifty-two years of covering sports, I’ve seen schedules changed or games postponed because of weather, but in those same fifty-two years I have not seen entire seasons wiped out without even getting a start.

Maybe I am getting too old for this. Maybe, it is time to put away the pencil and paper (yes, I still use those). Maybe, it’s time to forget about sports and don’t let things like this bother me, but I can’t.

This coronavirus has been a pain in everyone’s backside. To some, it has not only brought disrupted schedules, but also the pain of losing a loved one. Others have been forced to quarantine after testing positive while others try to hold their breath in just venturing to the store.

Soon and I truly believe it will be soon, our lives will be back to normal (as normal as they can get after this). Kids will be back playing with their friends. Schools will back on schedule. People out of work will be back on their jobs and friends will be safe to gather for birthday parties, anniversaries, graduations and, yes, ballgames. I pray for a return to normal life.

For years to come, I will never forget (and many others will be just like me) what these young student-athletes lost this year. Along with proms and possibly graduations, they lost that opportunity to be kids one spring in 2020. They were stripped of the chance to run track, play baseball or softball or tennis with their friends and teammates during that one spring in 2020.

Fifty-two years have enabled me to witness many firsts at all levels, but this first, I hope, will never see a second. I’m looking forward to fall sports, winter sports, but more importantly I am looking for to high school sports in the spring of 2021.

To those that had their school days disrupted this spring, remember that adversity brings life experience. Believe, have faith and never, ever give up on the hope for better times.


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