These are different times, for sure.
The coronavirus epidemic demands it. During the past two months, 93 Americans have died from the virus (as of Tuesday). And close to 5,000 citizens of the United States have been infected by the malady.
And even in LaGrange, the coronavirus scare has uprooted the community. There are two current cases of the virus in Troup County, and the school system has been shut down due to the virus epidemic in the U.S.
Along with the local school closures, there also comes the postponement of prep sporting events. That does not sit well with local athletes and coaches. But there is something out there more important than games, standings and catches up against the center field wall.
Just ask Troup High head baseball coach Craig Garner, the mentor with the 300-plus career wins with the Tigers. Garner’s concerns go way beyond the field of play.
“This is about a lot more than baseball,” Garner said of the coronavirus crisis.
The coach feels sympathetic to his neighbors down the street, as well as his baseball players at Troup High.
“I hope we get a good grasp on this (virus). I hope we can slow it down. I’m worried about my country. This is tough,” said Garner.
He also feels sorry for his baseball players, who can’t practice or play in any games for at least the next two weeks. And maybe longer.
“We’re in disbelief. This is a little shocking. I’m worried about our seniors, who are looking to play in college,” said Garner.
The coach suddenly has some extra time on his hands, too, right about now.
“I’m trying to find something to occupy my time – like yard work and going down to the creek with my two year old,” said Garner.
Callaway High baseball coach Dusty Hubbard is looking for something to fill the hours in the day, too. Baseball is out of the question for now.
“We can’t practice or do anything. We can’t hold meetings. I’m just telling the guys to stay in shape. We want to play. The players are heartbroken, and this is pretty boring,” said Hubbard. “I’m looking for stuff to do around the house.”
The Cavalier coach also understands fully why school and the games are being put on hold. Hubbard is trying to adjust, like his players and the Callaway High students.
“This is unprecedented. But we want to be on the safe side. We want to protect our kids. This is pretty serious,” said Hubbard. “I don’t know what the future holds.”
LaGrange High Athletic Director Mike Pauley agrees down to the final letter. Pauley can still deal with the current situation – school or not, games or not.
“I am grateful for the GHSA (Georgia High School Association) taking the governor’s advice. We are learning about priorities. This time allows everyone to re-evaluate,” said Pauley.
There is no set date for school to resume, although LaGrange hopes to start back in two weeks or shortly after. The remaining local high school games and sporting events for the spring are also very uncertain in Troup County. “We very well might not go back to school (this semester). We might not have the rest of the (spring sports) season,” said Pauley.
But he does hope for the best.
The author of this article can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.