What could have been: In a normal world baseball and softball season would just be heating up

It’s been a month since local athletes in Lawrence County were able to take the field and perform in front of parents, friends and fans alike.

It’s better to just keep your minds off of it. 

Schools have been closed officially since March 25, but most schools have been closed down since a few days prior to that. 

The coronavirus has completely wrecked the landscape of the United States and the world and has taken so many things that we took for granted away from us. 

Among some of the things people miss the most would be sporting events. 

I’m still unsure what has been more shocking. To not see professional leagues like the NBA and MLB in action, to see the shutdown of one of the biggest sporting events annual in the NCAA March Madness Tournament or to see local high school baseball and softball games. 

Missing out on all of them stings, but the lack of local high school games really hits close to home. 

I’ve been attending high school sporting events on a weekly basis as a part of my job for the past five years. And yes while it is technically my job, it never really felt like work. Maybe other sports writers feel differently, but I looked forward every week to traveling all across North Alabama three to sometimes five times a week. There’s a lot worse ways to make money than getting to watch some great athletes perform and getting the opportunity to meet and talk with no people. 

So with no sports for the last month, it feels like summer to me, which isn’t a good thing as summer to me is the most boring time of the year. 

So as I said before, I find it better to just try and not think about it, but recently I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if life was back to normal. 

This previous Friday was April 17. That might not be much to some, literally as some folks have lost track of their days, but to me it’s tough. 

April 17 was set to be the first day of the AHSAA baseball playoffs. 

Last year all three local baseball teams advanced to the playoffs, and maybe it could have happened again this year. 

But it really stings for the Lawrence County Red Devils. Back in the fall the football team had several exciting games and the basketball team had a record season this winter. But even through all of it, I repeatedly heard “just wait till baseball season.” With a bevy of returning starters and a couple aces on the mound, I can understand the excitement. 

Baseball season finally, but just as quick as it arrived it was taken away. The chances of making a run were gone, and that’s a heartbreaking pill to swallow. 

Then there’s softball. 

I don’t imagine this is how Courtney Lovelady imagined her first season, as head coach of the Lady Devils would go. I also can’t imagine that the Hatton Lady Hornets, who were ranked No. 1 in class 2A just before the shutdown started, thought they’d be sitting at home instead of making a push for another state final appearance. 

But I can imagine that this cancellation of sports can be the hardest on the East Lawrence Lady Eagles. 

Most forget that the Eagles season last year ended in a similar fashion. Bad weather had forced an hours delay in the regional tournament, and instead of allowing the Eagles and their opponent to postpone and resume their game, the game was called in the middle and the win given to the Eagles’ opponents who were ahead. 

It was a travesty filled with controversy and a terrible way to have a season end. Now fast forward a year and it happened all over again. 

I hear a lot of, “there are more important things than sports” these days, and while that is true, we shouldn’t diminish what these athletes have lost. 

Just like the class of 2020 seniors will never get the chance to experience the things they’re losing, some of these athletes will never get the chance to step on a field again. Even the ones that do will never get this time they’ve lost back. 

It’s a tough time for everyone right now, but if you know a local athlete that performed at a local school, maybe take just a moment to tell them how much you appreciate them.

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