Mamou High senior pitcher Dacia Richard (21) bears down on a pitch to the plate in their district game against Pine Prairie earlier this season. Richard and the rest of the LHSAA athletes that participate in spring sports are on hold, as the organization has suspended play due to the Corona Virus outbreak. (Gazette photo by Tracey Jagneaux)
It is the most spoken word around the high school sports world ever since the LHSAA announced that it was suspending any and all spring sports competition because of the threat of the spread of CoVid-19.
That announcement, made last week, puts all sports in a holding pattern for at least until mid-April. With the closure of the schools throughout the state, the LHSAA felt it necessary to follow suit and halt all competition during that time frame.
The question now becomes, if and when high school athletics will resume play. Part of that question was answered this past Monday when the LHSAA sent out a memorandum to their participating schools.
The memorandum stated that, “The governor’s office and the state health department have mandated a 30 day suspension of schools, school activities and facilities. If this time frame holds true, it would not further impact the remainder of the 2020 spring sports’ regular season and post-season play.”
“We will keep all processes in place for post-season play. If the spring championship season extends for any period of time, the LHSAA will be ready to conduct tournaments in their entirety. The earliest possible date for the resumption of play would be Tuesday, April 14, unless otherwise notified.”
Basically, if schools were re-opened by April 14, the LHSAA is ready to resume all competition and ready to extend the seasons as far as necessary.
That is a good thing, if that takes place. However, the chances of schools opening back up by April 14 is 50/50 at best. Just recently, schools in Texas have announced a shut down for the remainder of the year.
The question then becomes, if the schools cannot open by the set date, what then happens to the rest of the LHSAA calender?
That question would most certainly be answered with a total cancellation of the remaining spring sports seasons, which includes baseball, softball and track. That scenario would just pour salt in an already fresh wound in the minds of the coaches and the players.
The Gazette spoke to some coaches and seniors about the current situation and this is what they said.
Gary Ashworth- Head
baseball coach, Sacred Heart High School
“I am just heartbroken for all of the players, especially the seniors because they have been waiting for their year as the leaders of the team,” stated Ashworth. “But, God is in control of this situation and we have to trust and believe in His plan. The best case scenario is that we get back to play on the 14th.”
“I just felt that we were ready to go on a roll,” Ashworth continued. “I just hope that they give us time to prepare for the re-start since we have not been able to even practice.”
Roy Serie- Head
track coach, Ville
“I understand the thinking, it is best to be safe than sorry,” said Serie. “Hopefully, this thing is not a fierce as they are thinking it can be. No one really knows how this virus will progress. We are just hoping that we can get back on the track as soon as possible.”
Kim Manuel- Head
softball coach, Mamou
“For the student/athlete, it is very upsetting because of all the hard work they have put in so far this season,” Manuel commented. “The suddenness is overwhelming. The seniors are really upset, not just about the sports, but about being around their peers and enjoying their last year in high school.”
“This just puts things into perspective. It makes you look at the big picture. Maybe this is a way for us to focus more on family and prayer. It is a tough life lesson,” she continued.
Dacia Richard- senior
softball player, Mamou
“I know this was a hard decision, but I think it was the right one in order to keep everyone safe,” stated Richard. “I am most upset that this was my last year to play with this set of teammates, some of them I have played with since we were first starting out. I just hope we can get back to playing.”
senior baseball player, Sacred Heart
“This was the right decision to keep everyone safe,” said Duplechin. “But, it is still heartbreaking for the seniors. We have played our entire lives and looked forward to our senior year. I would do anything to get back on to the field one more time .