The end of the line unfortunately came sooner than expected for many high school student-athletes because of the COVID-19 shutdown, and no one is happy about it.
One Glen Rose High School standout, Courtney Chapman, had qualified in early March for the Class 4A girls state powerlifting meet. But the senior Lady Tiger won’t get that sports chance of a lifetime because the state meet was canceled when the coronavirus problems were escalating.
And while the girls and boys basketball seasons were already over, other Lady Tigers and Tigers were still competing in their track and field, tennis, golf, baseball and softball seasons.
Glen Rose ISD Athletic Director Cliff Watkins weighed in, saying it’s hard to wrap his mind around the situation that erupted out of nowhere. He expressed special thoughts for the GRHS seniors who will never get another shot to participate at the high school level.
“I feel worst for the seniors, for four years in high school dedicated to being proficient in all the sports. I just hate that they didn’t get to finish their seasons,” Watkins said. “It’s hard to deal with, but I know our seniors have a bright future ahead of them. I’m looking forward to seeing all the great things they do, going forward.”
Watkins added, “I want to thank them for everything they’ve done. They are going through something nobody has gone through before.”
Watkins said that seeing what happened was also personally sad to him, in a spring season that held such promise in several sports.
“It is. I think we had a chance to have one of the better baseball and softball teams we’ve had since I’ve been here,” he said.
Watkins confirmed that the state’s entire 7on7 summer football competition has also been canceled for 2020.
But even though student-athletes involved in spring sports won’t have the usual opportunities in the playoffs or the state track meet to be noticed by college programs, Watkins hopes things will still work out for them.
“Hopefully those kids wanting to go on and play in college, hopefully they can go out this summer and find things to do in front of coaches and still get opportunities to do what they are going to do.”
Watkins said that he and his football coaching staff have used Zoom video to stay in touch with the underclassmen who will be returning to play football next season.
However, the University Interscholastic League’s decision to shut down the remaining spring sports and other extracurricular events included a ban on gathering for team workouts. That essentially leaves the offseason workouts up to each individual player — at home, without access to the school’s weight room or other facilities.
“We’ve been trying to stay in as close contact as we can, and get them to stay in the best physical condition they can,” Watkins said. “We give them a day-by-day workout, with no weights, that they can do at home.”