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Is this just a sign of what’s coming…

With the completion of the second round of the football playoffs last week, there remains only one team in contention for a state berth in the Elizabethton Cyclones who at the writing of this week’s Sports Chatter are preparing to take on Greeneville this evening.
In saying that, it has been a week of being reminded that with the ending of one season, another begins in earnest as basketball has already had a light handful of games and another edition of the Star basketball guide is currently getting built and ready for publication next week.

However, I already am having a lot of concerns with just how many games will be able to be played as already this week alone there have been some middle school and high school games canceled due to increasing numbers of cases in regard to COVID.

Yesterday, a colleague contacted me with news that the Johnson County Longhorn basketball team has had to enter quarantine affecting more games next week and the week after in high school play.

I know what most are thinking and that is why even attempt to play basketball as it has some different factors than football – specifically being played in tighter, confined quarters than football which is played in the open air.

It’s a valid question but the same reasoning goes into it as what went into the beginning of football and that is the fact that these student-athletes need a way to remain connected to the activities that most can only experience at this age as with graduation from high school in the near future most of these opportunities vanish like a vapor.

One may argue that it’s crazy to put these kids out there to be exposed to the virus and take it home to their families but in all honesty, the same argument can be applied to the conceptually thought of people that it is okay to visit Walmart, Lowes, eateries, and grocery stores and not wear masks while handling item after item that may have been touched by someone infected or breath the same air.

In actuality, it is probably safer to play sports than just do the everyday things in life as the administration, athletic directors, and coaches are doing all in their power to protect these athletes and immediately respond to anyone that has a positive test by doing contact tracing to ensure that others that may have been impacted are sent home for the safety of others.

And yes, this does affect games as witnessed Thursday night at TA Dugger when head coach Barry Johnson played a game against KACHEA with three players sitting at home due to contact tracing and all three were eighth-graders who play a major role on the Jr. Cyclones team.

The Jr. Cyclones held off the Wildcats but these three Johnson was missing admittedly would have brought more of a calm to the younger players on the team.

On Friday, both the JV and Varsity teams were sent home under a 10-day quarantine.

There is no doubt when students grow older and have their own families that the talk won’t so much surround games the parents participated in but rather the year 2020 and how it was a fight to either get on the field or court.

They will share about wearing masks, doing school at home online (which may be the case for everyone at this point), social distancing, and quarantining for being around someone who had tested positive.

I truly think that this basketball season will be one for the history books. Every high school coach in Carter County echoed the same sentiment while working on the new basketball guide in the fact this will be a crazy, weird year for basketball.

Games will be canceled – some can be rescheduled or filled in with another team while others will be just that – canceled.

My hope is that everyone will keep doing their part by following guidelines and doing the right thing so the basketball teams and wrestling teams can compete – some athletes for their last time at their respective schools.