It’s been 38 days since our last high school sporting event in North Carolina.
And while we’d like to be able to say that we’re getting closer to the return of high school sports, we can’t say those words with confidence because we really don’t know.
With some states starting to slowly relax the “Stay at Home” order, people are naturally wondering out loud about the return of high school sports.
We heard last week that golf could be one of the first major sports to return to action on the professional level. That move makes sense because players could keep practicing “social distancing” on the golf course. Golf is one sport that doesn’t require physical contact with the opposition.
Auto racing is another, although I’m not sure how things would be handled among pit crews.
It seems that the biggest question that comes up when starting sports back up is whether or not fans would be allowed at the events.
At a Nascar race, if 20 percent of capacity was allowed to sit in the bleachers, there probably wouldn’t be an issue. That smaller number of fans should be able to spread out and remain safe while continuing to practice social distancing.
Golf may be a little different, however, because it seems that crowds tend to form around the more popular players or at certain holes on the course. Fans could be limited to certain holes, and not be free to walk the entire course like usual.
How does this relate to high school sports?
Once professional sports gets started back up, a lot of those associated with college and high school sports might get a little excited and anxious. And rightly so, because there will be hope.
If we do by some chance get back to high school sports before the end of the school year in late May or early June, what kind of restrictions will be laid out? Will high school sports be played without fans in the stands?
You would have to think that’s a possibility.
The top priority, after safety of course, should be to let these student-athletes play some form of a season and go out on a positive note. Especially the seniors, who have already had their final year of high school altered dramatically.
Hopefully we could get to a point where at least the parents could see a game or two.
Another question will be whether high school sports can make it without fans. Athletic directors and administrators know how important the flow of the gate money is to keep high school sports afloat.
The expenses are still going to be there. Schools could possibly survive a shortened spring season without fans paying admission, but most would struggle to play a football season in the fall without the dollars that come in.
There will be a lot more thinking and planning behind the scenes before those decisions would be made.
So 38 days into the suspension of high school athletics in North Carolina, where are we?
In some ways, we’re right where we were in mid-March, because we really don’t know. On the other hand, there has been some positive news over the last week or so, offering all of us sports fans some hope.
Maybe soon, we’ll see some light at the end of the tunnel.