Jim’s Column

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Is there an end in sight?

Two steps forward, one step back.

With the pandemic still lingering like that pesky raccoon your kid fed on the back porch one night, we seem to have hope that there will finally be some sort of competition soon, only to discover that the pandemic is getting worse.

So the media tells us.

If you can believe it. You make your own decisions on that.

I do know that there are folks working at the local, state, national and international levels to make sports happen. We’re told that Major League Baseball is going to start in fewer than three weeks, then Canada says it may close its border. A handful of players have opted out of the 2020 season already.

College players are testing positive in advance of the football pre-season. The NBA plans to restart in a couple of weeks, but there are positive tests there, too. 

At the high school level, the state dead period ended, but Tennessee governor Bill Lee extended the state of emergency until Aug. 29. The dead period is over, but pre-season activity will, for now, have to be limited. No contact, no scrimmages until Aug. 30, if even then.

I have had many discussions from sports fans and colleagues who aren’t sure if we’re even going to have a season. 

Consider, once we resume, that you will have 25-30 kids or more colliding with, sweating on, and grabbing each other in a close environment. They’ll be sharing a football and a locker room. 

Until there’s a vaccine, this could spell trouble. Maybe not for the players themselves, but perhaps their parents or grandparents or at-risk relatives and neighbors.

There are a lot of what-ifs to consider between now and the supposed Sept. 18 starting date. Things could certainly improve. Things also could get worse. To be real honest, we’re don’t know much more now than we did back in March.

During this whole ordeal, I just get the idea that most folks, sports fans and those who don’t fancy sports, are sort of meandering. We all seem to be waiting for something to happen, whether it’s good or bad. It’s frustrating for a lot of folks just waiting to watch a ballgame and/or to have a regular flow of customers into their businesses.

Whether or not we have football this fall remains to be seen. I know there are a lot of people out there working hard on plans to make it happen.

It’s a frustrating time for everyone right now. But we’re one week closer to moving past all of this.

Jim Steele is a correspondent for Magic Valley Publishing and is the host of The Pressbox, which airs from 4-6 p.m. CT, Monday-Thursday on WRJB 95.9 FM, Camden, Tenn.

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