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GHSA makes the right decision

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

There was, on practice fields, in meeting rooms, and coaches offices across the state, a collective sigh of relief on Monday afternoon.

There has been a feeling of uncertainty surrounding high-school sports in Georgia for weeks and months now as the state, and the country, continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

While high-school teams have been permitted to hold voluntary summer workouts, there was no guarantee the fall sports seasons would go on as scheduled.

We all held our breath and hoped for the best as the Georgia High School Association board of trustees met on Monday to discuss the options for the fall sports seasons.

There was plenty of speculation about what would happen, but no one knew for sure.

Earlier on Monday, California opted not to play fall sports at all, and other states have either canceled the seasons or pushed them back.

What would the GHSA do?

Shortly after the meeting concluded, we found out what the GHSA’s plan was for the fall, and it made all those hoping to see sports played grin.

Here are the basics.

Most of the fall sports, including softball, volleyball, cross country and competitive cheerleading, will go on as scheduled, with their seasons set to begin in August.

Football’s calendar will change.

Originally, the regular season was supposed to begin on Aug. 21, with preseason games set for Aug. 7 and Aug. 14.

The new plan calls for everything to be pushed back two weeks.

The regular season now begins on Sept. 4, and the preseason games will be Aug. 21 and Aug. 28.

It should be pointed out that, during the era of Covid-19, everything is written in pencil and not ink, but for now the GHSA has spoken, and sports will go on, with teams continuing to take the precautions necessary to protect the health of the student-athletes.

“I’m appreciative of the GHSA, and the coaches I’ve talked to around the state, they’re appreciative as well,” said Troup head football coach Tanner Glisson. “We’re just ready to get this thing moving forward.”

Obviously the coronavirus will still be a part of our lives when the fall seasons begin, but I applaud the GHSA’s decision to not shut everything down.

Losing the spring sports season was painful, particular for the seniors, but it’s a decision that likely had to be made.

To see that same thing happen once again in the fall would have been a brutal blow, and I am grateful that, as Glisson said, we’re moving forward with high-school sports.

Again, everything is subject to change and there are no guarantees, but it makes my heart feel good to know that in a few weeks high-school sports will be back.

There is, unfortunately, a risk involved with playing sports at this time, but I have confidence that every effort will be made to minimize the threat.

I know I can’t wait to be on the sidelines and under the lights at Callaway Stadium, or along the fence at the softball fields watching the games, or in the gyms as the volleyball players give it their best effort.

There is no question how much it means to these student-athletes to get that chance to compete and I know they’re ready to play.

As of now they’re going to get that opportunity, and fingers crossed, that won’t change.