We are halfway through June and as of this writing it does appear there will be a high school football season in Georgia for 2020. Everyone can exhale a sigh of relief at this moment, at least for now anyway.
Not that long ago I would not have been confident saying the chances were good we would have a season. Yet it seems our world has been turned on its ear since March. A health crisis which, like everything else in today’s world, has turned political. It’s hard to imagine we have reached that point.
We’ll stay out of politics for these musings and just be thankful we will have high school athletics this fall. That includes cross country, softball and volleyball in addition to the action on the gridiron.
High school sports are important for a variety of reason. For student-athletes, being involved in extra-curricular activities is a vital part of the education process itself. You cannot be a well-rounded student by simply showing up for class each day. That’s important, of course, but only a part of the formula.
Being a part of a group or team — whether they are centered around sports, drama, cheerleading, band or 4-H — is something all students should take advantage of. Each provides valuable lessons which add to the overall learning experience gained from the classroom.
In this part of the country high school football and fall go hand-in-hand. Football is the biggest revenue-generating event in high school and helps provide support for other sports.
It has been really difficult to comprehend that there might not be any games beginning in August. If that decision had been made it would have not only crushed the athletic department budgets for this school year — probably beyond — but it would have been a major setback in other ways.
This newspaper, for example, devotes a great deal of resources into covering high school football. The reason is simple. Those who run it understand how important football is to this community.
You would be hard-pressed to find a community newspaper such as The Covington News which devotes more to high school football coverage on Friday nights. In a time when many daily newspapers don’t even feature high school football scores in their Saturday editions, the paper you are reading now not only provides scores but offers game stories, stats and numerous photographs from the games which were played just a few hours earlier.
Local football teams were able to begin some organized activities last week. It has not evolved back to full-scale workouts but at least there is something. Until June 8 there remained a great deal of doubt as to what was going to happen.
The 2020 season is shaping up to be an exciting one locally. Some teams have new head coaches. Some will look to continue their recent paths to the postseason. Some are simply trying to improve the overall state of their respective program.
Football is certainly one of the most demanding sports to take part in. It’s not easy and the workouts this time of year quickly test one’s inner desire to be part of a team.
Unless something unforeseen happens, we will have high school football in 2020. Players, coaches, fans, parents, school officials and even newspaper staffs are all breathing a sigh of relief.
Timing is an important aspect of life. Had this health crisis landed on us in June or July then there likely would not have been a football season. While some things may be a little different in 2020, at least we are on track now to have games on Friday nights.
We are still approximately three months away but the players and coaches are back at work even with some limitations. It won’t be much longer before toe-meets-leather and an important part of Americana will begin again.
It’s funny. Most of us until recently probably have never given one thought to there not being football in the fall. It will probably make us appreciate it even more.
Chris Bridges has been a community newspaper journalist for three decades and is a former sports editor for The Covington News and The Walton Tribune. He welcomes feedback about this column at firstname.lastname@example.org.