I am confident I was with the majority this past Saturday evening at 5p when I ventured on to the website of the WV Board of Education to check out the Covid 19 colored map! For you see, that colorful map of West Virginia is our go to……it is the piece of document we all check just so we will know what the following week will be like. Will we have students in the classroom for much needed in person instruction, or will most of us have to worry about finding a way to juggle in home learning with our away from home work! Will all of the athletic directors and high school coaches be ok with the team that shows up on the schedule, or will they have to hit the phone like they have done so many times this season, and try and find someone that can and will play their team! I clearly remember when we were all concerned about the coming year of 2000 – a brand new century….what did we expect……will the computer world in which we live continue to compute or will we have a major crash? All of those questions were centered around what would 2000 bring? Little did we know, it would be twenty years later when we would go through a year unlike anything on record! Aw, yes….2020…..what a year it has become!
This week is week number eight of the high school football season and right now, we have 21 high school football games……42 high school football teams currently without games! Games cancelled by Covid 19 and that colorful map we are now chained to! And, that number of 21 games will surely climb higher as the week progresses! Plus we are also at the point on the athletic calendar, where sectional and regional play begins this week for high school soccer and cross country teams. And, the sad part is for some counties they have teams that will not be provided with the chance to move on into post season action, through no fault of their own! Certainly the one county that comes to mind is Doddridge County! That county is red…..and that is as bad as it can be! No in school instruction and no athletic competition will be allowed. To my knowledge, I have not met Mr. Adam Cheeseman, who is the Superintendent of Education in Doddridge County, however I could not agree with him more. He recently released a statement that read in part, “The State School Map has Doddridge County Red Again. I feel so very disappointed for our students, especially our students that were preparing for the regional cross-country meet this week. Some of these students have worked their lifetime for this moment. Getting up every day to put in the necessary effort to become great and qualify for the state meet. As a school system we want to reward this type of dedication and commitment. Frankly, I do not see why our cross-country runners should not be allowed to compete at the regional meet. They have not been in school for two weeks and they have been tested for Covid 19. Cross-country is a non-contact sport that is held outdoors”! Mr. Cheeseman, I could not agree more! The athletes at Doddridge County High School have not caused the county color to be red……however, they are the ones being inflicted with severe and unwarranted punishment! This week, the red map is effecting cross-country and soccer……in three weeks it will effect high school football! And, just think about the Doddridge County football this season….they are currently undefeated at 5-0 and have outscored their first five opponents 160 to 15! Yet, because of Covid 19,they have not played since October 2nd and won’t have another chance to play until October 30th. Quite possibly, the Doddridge County football team could be 7-0 and would certainly be ranked #1 in Class A, but if the county color remains red, they will not be allowed to play any more! Their season will be over and gone with that, the realistic chance of winning their school’s FIRST EVER high school football championship!
There are certainly a number of other counties that could be facing the same dilemma as Doddridge County and that includes Berkeley, Mingo, Morgan, Randolph, Upshur, Wirt and Wyoming counties who are all orange, meaning no competitions can be held.
Everywhere I travel around the state I am honored and pleased to hear so many people tell me how much they love high school football and my Friday Night High School GAMENIGHT program! Well, it is as simple as this……COVID 19 is not just simply going away!! Until there is an approved vaccine and everyone is vaccinated, the virus is here to stay! And, now the health experts are saying we are in for another surge……in fact, they already have a name for it…….the next covid surge is being called a “twin-demic”! I know for me, I want high school football to continue…..I WANT High School GAMENIGHT to have a larger number of games to comment on every Friday night! But, what I want is not important……I promise you I wear my mask…..I promote social distancing….I wash my hands! I’m asking you to do the same! Let’s get that colorful map down to where we only see Green and Yellow and when we do that, we will have whipped Covid 19……and, isn’t that what we all want!
Be certain to join Dave Jecklin and me this Friday night for another edition of GAMENIGHT – we will have all the scores, plus talk with a number of coaches, players and play by play crews from across the state! GAMENIGHT is heard on over forty great radio stations around the state, plus the audio and video can be found at www.wvmetronews.com!
Talk with you Friday night at 9:30pm!