It’s the first week of May, it’s just after 2:30pm, the sun is shining and ballparks around the city are filling with young athletes waiting to stretch their muscles and show their stuff on the diamond.
Longtime Crimson Tide softball coach Stacy Schiavo is rolling ground balls to the infielders while her assistants toss balls to batters standing ready at home plate stationed just steps below the main entrance of Everett High School.
Outfielders call to each other to recover the balls battered by contact while Schiavo shouts a reminder of form to a group of girls taking swipes at the balls rolling their way.
That scene was common last year.
This year, there’s no such scene to be seen.
Instead of softball and sunshine on the diamond, the spring of 2020 is sport-less as playing fields remain closed to the public.
Athletes and coaches alike are being forced to remain apart while remaining active.
In essence, coaches are not coaching this season. At least not in the traditional ways that we consider normal.
Coaching on the field this spring has forcibly taken a benching to coaching from afar. Something coach Schiavo and her staff have tried their best to do at a time when being close is hard.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Association (MIAA) announced the cancellation of the 2019-2020 spring high school sports season Friday.
Here’s the official statement released on their website:
“In accordance with Governor Charles Baker’s announcement Tuesday that Massachusetts schools will be closed to in person learning for the remainder of the school year, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) regretfully has cancelled all spring sports and spring tournaments.
Today’s decision by the MIAA Board of Directors was difficult, disappointing, and one that was deferred for several weeks as Association staff, Association members from the Tournament Management Committee (TMC) and the Board worked aggressively to construct optional structures to save the opportunity for our MIAA 80,000 student-athletes to enjoy a spring season.
Despite this disheartening but unavoidable action, it is paramount to applaud our constituents, principals, athletic directors, coaches and student-athletes for their positive power of example and cooperation during this unprecedented crisis. The “life lessons” inherent in the games we play will be our resiliency to provide mental and physical strength to focus on the discipline and teamwork to make a difference in the challenging chapters in the Game of Life. #OneTeamOneMIAA. Stay Well.”
The MIAA’s decision to cancel high school sports was inevitable once Governor Baker announced all Mass. schools would close for the remainder of the academic year but waiting for the news wasn’t nearly as tough actually as getting it.
In what really isn’t much of a surprise decision, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced all private and public schools in the state will be closed for the remainder of the academic school year. The announcement has forced the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) to reconvene and address the spring high school sports season.
Previously, the MIAA announced a tentative plan to hold a shortened spring sports season with 8–12 games scheduled per team from May 4 through June 27, including an approved playoff format that would crown sectional champions based on region rather than an overall state champion like years past.
But since schools will no longer open in May, and other states also clamping their school doors for the academic year, that plan will need to be re-evaluated or squashed all together in what surely will be an unprecedented moment for the MIAA and high school sports across the state and country.
Covid-19’s effect on high school sports all over the country could be compared to a media blackout in national sports terms: No games will be aired (or played in this case) for at least another several weeks.
On Monday, The MIAA Board of Directors held a conference call to determine how to move forward with school years being shortened.
Currently, any games scheduled to be played will have to wait until after May 4 at the earliest, a change from a typical April 1 start date for most spring sports. If/when HS sports returns, it would also include a shortened postseason tournament.
The board concluded the spring season will begin no earlier than May 4 and close by June 27, with June 28 being a make-up date in case of weather or facility needs. The motion was approved unanimously. Continue reading Spring sports seasons in jeopardy