The Class of 2020 seniors lost the last nine weeks of their spring sports season including state championships.
This year’s class has already lost 16 weeks and state championships for all sports. By the time sports begin after the holiday break in January, 23 weeks will have disappeared.
But it could be more.
Nevada, like the rest of the country, is seeing the third wave of COVID-19 but unlike the previous waves, this one is hitting the Silver State harder. Cases are increasing at an alarming rate, the worst it’s been since the pandemic started in March. Hospitals are nearing capacity because of this new virus, and the flu season isn’t making it any better, creating a twindemic.
The start of the sports season is in jeopardy more so than when the state provided its latest update on youth sports in October and said all but high-risk sports can resume. All winter sports for both Fallon and Oasis Academy are high risk: basketball and wrestling. One fall sport, football, is also high risk but all spring sports are low to moderate risk.
The increase in cases and hospitalization makes it more difficult to allow high-risk sports to begin, which means the winter season will not happen. Fallon’s boys basketball team will not be able to defend its regional title (remember, there’s no state championship). The wrestlers won’t step on the mat. And the Oasis Academy basketball teams, which were poised to not only make a run at the league title, but the Bighorns also had a legitimate shot at reaching the state tournament for the first time in school history.
While state championships are gone – the NIAA already announced that these would not be contested – there’s still hope for winter sports to start on schedule.
Last week, Gov. Steve Sisolak issued an ultimatum to the Silver State: do your part in helping control the spread of the virus in the next two weeks, or else.
Unlike last year’s senior class, the ball is in Nevadans’ court and they can prevent the same fate with this current senior class. Two weeks to change the course of the virus and hope’s restored.
If the state doesn’t get its act together, the 2021 seniors will lose more than just a season; they’ve already lost the opportunity to compete for state titles and one-third of their season is already gone.
The surrounding states are cracking down, too. Utah, which started its fall season on schedule, announced last week it’s shutting down for two weeks to slow the spread. California counties that affect the NIAA are tightening up. It’s a matter of time before Idaho shuts down. In the Midwest, Michigan is shutting down sports for two weeks.
If you thought the 2020 class had it bad with losing all but two weeks of their spring season, it’s going to be much worse for this year’s seniors. They are going to lose so many opportunities, and fortunately, the state’s citizens can do something about it.
These students, especially the seniors, deserve better but everyone must do their part. Put aside your differences. Wear a mask. Socially distance. It’s not rocket science. The ball is in your court.
Do your part so everyone can get back to normal.
Do your part so that the community can watch the Greenwave and Bighorns compete.
Do your part so this year’s seniors don’t experience a worse fate than last year’s group.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at email@example.com.